KOTA BARU: The Kelantan State Legislative Assembly has passed an amended Syariah Bill that provides for public caning for offenders, among other things.
Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the amendments were in accordance with Islamic law, which allows for the punishment as a deterrent.
He said that previously, such caning was done in the prison but with the amendments, whipping could be carried out in public or in the prison, depending on the court’s decision.
The Bill is part of the procedure to implement the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or RUU 355 if it is approved by Parliament, he said.
“All the 33 clauses in the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 Bill have been amended to streamline penalties such as whipping, fines and some technical processes,” he said.
State Islamic Development Committee chairman Datuk Nassuruddin Daud tabled the amendments.
He said public caning can be carried out in the state after the amendments are gazetted (but only according to the existing penalties).
The ruling is not applicable to non-Muslims, he stressed.
He said they were now identifying suitable venues where public caning could be carried out to be gazetted.
The maximum length and diameter allowed for the cane that will be used are 1.22m and 1.25cm respectively.
These amendments also empower religious enforcement officers to handcuff suspects, allow video clips to be used as evidence in trials and make community service a form of punishment.
When tabling the amendments, Nassuruddin (PAS-Meranti) said they were overdue since the enactment is 15 years old.
Women, Family and Welfare Committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi (PAS-Demit) seconded the proposal.
Speaker Datuk Abdullah Yaa’kub said later that the Bill was passed with the unanimous support of the state assemblymen present.