Public caning in stadiums likely

KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government is looking into gazetting suitable venues including mosque compounds and stadiums to carry out public caning in the state.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said an amendment to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Proce­dure Enactment 2002 to allow public caning was passed last year. However, this has yet to be gazetted.

“It will allow us to carry out public caning and we are looking into gazetting suitable venues,” he told reporters after opening an Islamic event here on Tuesday.

Two lesbians, aged 32 and 22, were recently caned in Tereng­ganu, provoking an international outcry.

Unlike Terengganu, however, there is no provision under the existing state Syariah enactment in Kelantan to cane lesbians.

Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department chief Mohd Rahim Jusoh said the existing penalty was either a maximum RM500 fine or up to four months imprisonment or both if caught in the act.

“So far, there is no provision in the state Syariah enactment to cane women engaged in a lesbian relationship,” he said.

No lesbian couples were charged in Kelantan over the last decade.

“But that does not mean the state is lesbian free. Perhaps they hide their relationship well to avoid detection.

“Or perhaps, our periodic surveillance activities, aimed at nabbing those caught in such acts served as a deterrent,” said Mohd Rahim, adding that religious authorities were also proactive in monitoring transgenders.

Offences warranting caning in Kelantan include drinking alcoholic beverage, adultery, sodomy and qazaf (accusing one of adultery or sodomy without producing four credible witnesses).

The Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court had on Aug 12 ordered the two women to be caned six times each for engaging in musahaqah (sexual relations between women).

They were also fined RM3,300 each.

The penalty was carried under Section 30 of the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Offences Enact­ment (Takzir).

Public Caning , Kelantan