On 13th July 2017, the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly unanimously passed an amendment to the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002. However, this revised enactment has yet to receive royal assent.
This was to allow caning in full public view for Syariah offences which were previously witnessed only by prison officials. Four types of offences include sodomy, illicit sex (zina), alcohol consumption and false accusation of zina. Law applicable for Muslims only.
As a non-Muslim and a concerned Malaysian, these are my observations.
1. Caning In Aceh – Reverting From ‘Public’ To Private
Two months ago, Aceh (Indonesia) implemented ‘public’ canings in response to demands by its Islamic hardliners. Since then, canings were carried out in full public view in front of the mosque after prayers for Syariah offenders.
Why is Aceh now reverting the ‘public’ canings back to the privacy of prison walls? Has our Muslim scholars, politicians and assemblymen consulted the Muftis in Aceh as to enquire what went wrong?
2. What Does The Holy Qu’ran Say?
“The (unmarried) woman or (unmarried) man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of ALLAH, if you believe in ALLAH and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.” Surah 24:2
FYI, the videos and images of the ‘public’ canings in my blog are sourced from Google, Facebook and Youtube. What does the “group of believers” mean? Does it include ALL the 7 billion people in the world today?
I note that the punishment of caning is stipulated (only for zina) and necessary for moral education. But what about caning in full public view in the Internet era? Is that why Aceh is retreating so fast?
Then why are PAS and UMNO politicians pushing ahead and blatantly ignoring the facts? What are their real motives?
3. The Internet Is Forever
If the new enactments receive royal assent, Kelantan will be the only state in Malaysia and in the world which mandate canings implemented ‘publicly’. I have omitted the ISIS in Iraq and Raqqa Syria because many Muslims don’t even consider them Islamic.
While Syariah offenders in other Malaysian states will undergo ‘private’ canings thus sparing them the public humiliation from the unbelievers.
Imagine the shame, opprobrium, disgrace and dishonour borne by the Muslimin and Muslimat. To be a hot topic of discussion amongst the non-believers. In the neighbourhood, in the marketplace and in the office. Is this what the Holy Qu’ran commanded?
The lashings are video-recorded on Facebook and Youtube; to be viewed by millions. “Selama-lamanya”, forever is a very long time. Try Google image searching with the keywords “Aceh” or “Islamic State” and “caning”.
4. Malaysia’s Supreme King
As The Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V is the Head of ISLAM for Kelantan, Federal Territories, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak.
Sultan Muhammad V is deeply loved by the people of Malaysia. It is true that His Majesty has a very special place in the hearts of the Kelantanese.
Is it because the Kelantanese are so loved that they are given far exceeding than the doctor’s prescribed dosage?
Is caning done publicly for full viewing for the unbelievers (ready with their mobiles and camcorders), only for Kelantan’s ummah’s own good?
How will His Majesty explain to his subjects….. that Muslims in Kelantan are different from the Muslims in FT, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak….. hence they deserve different treatments.
5. Time To Expose Secret Agendas
What are the PAS and UMNO politicians secretly thinking? Something very strange is going on. Indeed!!!
Don’t they know that this amendment will disconnect the Kelantanese grassroots from their Malay Ruler?
Don’t they know that enactment (if passed into law) will discolour the international image of our beloved King, the YDP AGONG who is the Head of ISLAM in the Nation-State of Malaysia?
PAS & UMNO politicians claims to champion the royal institution and uphold the dignity of ISLAM. But their political posturing have a hidden agenda.
6. Judicial Discretion For Whom?
Kelantan’s Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah says, “Caning can now be carried out inside prison or outside prison, depending on court decision.”
This means that the Syariah Court Magistrate or Judge has the discretionary power, to vary, to be selective – as to who receives publicity.
This leads to the unhealthy inference and (mis)perception; rightly or wrongly; that the rich and powerful (offenders) could receive favourable treatment.
Neither PAS or UMNO politicians have explained why the Judicial exception (or escape clause) is present if ‘public’ caning is a divine command as they so claimed. Where is the perception of fairness; that all Muslims are equal before the Islamic law?
Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is not addressing the real issues. Obviously this new law does not apply to non-Muslims.
7. Prime Minister’s Office
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have failed to exercise thought leadership on behalf of His Majesty, our beloved AGONG.
Perhaps it is now time to establish His Majesty’s royal think-tank which is independent of the PMO or politicians.
Patriotic thought leaders who are loyal to His Majesty’s cause will answer the call to chart the future of Malaysia.