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5 open canings in Sabah so far
Published on: Sunday, July 16, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Muslim offenders have been openly caned in five instances in Sabah for illicit sex to date but with a difference – the caning was not carried out publicly.

Sabah Syariah Chief Judge Datuk Jasri @ Nasip Matjakir said the caning was done in Syariah courtrooms that were open to all but, nevertheless, limited to courtroom capacity.

So far, Jasri said, the Syariah Judiciary Department had registered five cases of open caning for committing illicit sex, three of them in Tawau and two in Kota Kinabalu.

"The latest was at the Tawau Syariah Court last year that involved a man and a woman for committing adultery. Both were caned in the courtroom.

"Another Tawau case in 2014 was postponed following a medical check-up that revealed the female offender was pregnant, hence the caning was put off.

"I have to check with the Tawau Syariah Court whether the caning in the courtroom has since been carried out," he said.

Jasri said this to reporters after witnessing the commissioning of 16 new Syarie lawyers that was officiated by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif at the Sa'adah Hall in Wisma Muis, here.

He was commenting on the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly's decision on Wednesday to amend the Syariah Bill to provide for, among other things, the whipping punishment to be executed in public.

It was reported that the assembly had passed the amendments to the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 to allow public caning for four offences such as illicit sex or zina, false accusations of zina, sodomy and consumption of alcohol.

In Kota Kinabalu, Jasri disclosed that two cases of open caning were carried out inside the prison for two offenders either in 2011 or 2012 for committing illicit sex.

He said Muslims convicted for committing illicit sex under the Sabah Syariah Criminal Enactment face a maximum of six lashes of the whip, or a jail term up to three years or a maximum fine of RM5,000, upon conviction.

On a video of an open caning in the Tawau Syariah Court that went viral early this year, Jasri said it is not an offence to do so as it would make the public understand and see for themselves whether the Syariah caning is a cruel punishment or a punishment to educate the offenders not to repeat the offence.

In fact, he said the video would help the Government in explaining the proposed changes to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) or RUU 355.

"Sabah can become the referral state on the implementation of this," he said.

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