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Sunday September 6, 2009
By PAUL GABRIEL
KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has “cleared” the Prisons Department to cane part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.
He said department director-general Datuk Zulkifli Omar and a woman officer came to his office last week to conduct a caning demonstration for him.
“She tapped the back of a chair with the cane.
“There was little force involved and it was not going to inflict pain, not even like the caning carried out in schools in those days.
“I am now satisfied that the caning can be carried out by the department if the court decides to proceed and enforce the sentence,” he said in an interview.
Hishammuddin had recently said the ministry needed to study the proper procedures before caning the woman according to Syariah law, adding that he would not allow the department to execute the caning sentence if it did not have the knowledge and expertise to do it.
Kartika, a 32-year-old mother-of-two, was fined RM5,000 and ordered to be whipped six times for drinking beer in a hotel in Cherating last year.
Her sentence has been deferred until after Ramadan.
Several parties, such as the Bar Council, have called for the sentence to be annulled.
Hishammuddin said that although he was now satisfied that the department was able to conduct the caning, he still felt it had no experience to do so.
“This is because the woman (Kartika) will be the first to be caned (under Syariah laws applicable to Muslims). Four men who have received caning sentences by the Syariah Court are appealing their sentences,” he said.
On the merits of Kartika’s caning sentence, the minister said he had told the department not to get “embroiled in this.”
“That is not their purview. It is the judicial process which decides that. If the caning sentence is to be imposed, it is their duty to carry it out fairly.”
Kartika’s father, Shukarno Mutalib, when contacted, said the family was happy to hear that the department was able to handle the caning.
“Alhamdullillah (praise be upon Allah). Kartika wants it over and done with,” he said.
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