Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hishamuddin & the secret caning of women

On 10 February Malaysiakini published my letter titled Rulers in politics a dangerous thing.

While my subject was on the inadvisability of royal activism in politics, I also mentioned that there were two monumental blunders in recent Malaysian political strategies. I had then written:

The first was when Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then as prime minister, wanted to outflank PAS' growing influence among the pious in the Malay heartland. He did so by declaring Malaysia as an Islamic nation, diametrically opposite to Tunku Abdul Rahman's earlier declaration that Malaysia was a secular state which upheld Islam as the nation's official religion.

Whatever good motive he might have in his manoeuvre to politically pre-empt PAS, he introduced a new element into the Malaysian judicial system, one that was and still is unwelcomed by non-Muslims.

Yes, as I had written, … By taking such a constitutionally radical step to neutralise PAS, he opened, what non-Muslims would call, a Pandora's Box, one which he couldn't close back again. From thence, he gradually gave in to the genie he unwittingly released.

We cannot accept the usual argument that only Muslims would be affected because Madam Kaliammal, wife of the late Moorthy (he of the body snatching case) was deeply affected and severely traumatised - and so were other non-Muslims in similar predicament.

Since then there has been an erosion of the supremacy of civil laws.

Four years ago I wrote in a previous post SUHAKAM Chairman: "Civil Court Judges Lack Balls" that Abu Talib Othman, the chairman of SUHAKAM and former Attorney-General in Dr Mahathir’s government, the very man who had drafted the contentious Article 121 (1)(A) in 1988, severely criticized the timidity of the civil courts in interpreting the constitutional rights [and limitations] of the syariah courts in the Moorthy case.

Abu Talib blamed the civil courts for lacking the balls to interpret the provisions according to the intentions of the proponents [of the Constitution].

When human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz told him about civil court judges who admit to being Muslims first, Abu Talib advised him to report the matter and if there was evidence, those judges should be removed.

He said: “They are unfit to be judges, then. Judges should remember their constitutional oath to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.”

Yesterday we read that Three women [were] caned for extramarital sex in accordance with the sentences passed down by the syariah courts.

There was also the case of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno who was also sentenced to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer.

It’s not for me to question the decisions of the syariah courts … UNLESS … these had been against the civil laws.

Malaysian civil laws do not permit women to be caned. Additionally, in accordance with the civil law, a person cannot be caned by the prison authorities unless that person is a prisoner.

Kartika wasn't a prisoner, yet it has been reported that prison authorities had averred they were waiting for instructions from the syariah court to conduct the caning on her ... and presumably to f* with the civil laws of the nation.

So how, Minister? Haven't civil laws been violated?

The greater shame of the Home Minister has been that he allowed the illegal sentencing to be carried out secretly, yes, secretly as if he had been ashamed of the very actions of his own ministry.

Hishamuddin had the gall to say [as reported by MKINI]: "The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in future," ..... adding that none of the three sustained any injuries.

To recap, the secret caning of the women had been illegal in accordance with Malaysian civil laws.

Hishamuddin was too afraid or embarrassed to be upfront with those punishments. I bet if he could distance himself from ownership of the decision to proceed with the punishment he would have done so.

But alas, civil laws as we used to know it have become a victim of political opportunism and a faint heart.

And shouldn’t we apply Abu Talib’s admonition of those civil court judges to Hishamuddin as well, as in:

They are He is unfit to be judges a minister, then. Judges A minister should remember their his constitutional oath to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.”


  1. Very well argued indeed. But unfortunately in this land you views do not matter. And that is a shame.Ramalx

  2. As a big fan of your blog, my advice is be careful.
    Tread carefully.
    Do not write what you know not.
    If you watch TV3 tonight, you will understand what the whipping is all about.
    It's not painful as lashes prescribed under civil law.
    Several steps were taken before the whipping is conducted.
    The girls too were thankful after undergoing the punishment.

  3. @Your fan

    "Do not write what you know not."
    If that's the case then men would still be in caves beating about with their clubs.

    "The girls too were thankful after undergoing the punishment."
    Oh yea? Were they smiling and grinning when they were being caned? Perhaps they also took some pictures with their caners for fond memories?


    Nicely written, although I have a strong feeling (with no substantial evidence of course) that this caning story has been cooked up by certain authorities so that Kartika's caning could later be justified and eased into people's minds. This is, however, just my gut feeling.

  4. "It's not painful as lashes prescribed under civil law.
    Several steps were taken before the whipping is conducted.
    The girls too were thankful after undergoing the punishment."

    Yeah, I'm sure this beats massage and spa treatment to improve skin and muscle tone at the gluteus maximus, commonly known as the backside!!

    Barbaric would be an understatement!!

    We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

  5. Your (my) fan, my post is not so much about the 'caning' per se and whether it had been painful or otherwise, but rather a far more important issue, namely the violation of Malaysian civil laws and the Federal Constitution ... by both the Minister and those lil' napoleons, the prison authorities.

    We may ask, if the Federal Constitution and civil laws could be so easily violated, what protection then lies ahead for us, Malaysian citizens?

  6. Please don't confuse Syariah law with civil law.
    The girls are caned as punishment under Syariah law.
    If they dont complain, why should we.
    As I said earlier, Please tread carefully on the issue of religion.
    You dont want to be another RPK, Looney, Zorro or Haris ibrahim.

  7. 9th Feb 2010 is an important date in M'sian political scene (just like 8th March 2008).

    Now after the 'canning' incident Umno has virtually opened the doors for cooperation from PAS at the Federal & State level.


  8. Let's be clear on this.

    I don't think any religion or society encourages pre marital sex. It is universal and not the private domain of any particular religion or society.

    Having said that, how do I then prevent this from happening?
    I would want to do it by educating the young ones on the consequences of pre marital sex rather than putting fear into them. Fear that there will be caned if they committ such acts.

    Come on, are our parenting and education system so useless that we need the state to regulate such activities? We must take charge of our own destiny!

    On another note, since the 3 ladies have admitted to such acts on their own, whether the punishment was meted our or not, I think they may have reached a level of consciousness within themselves where they are able now to differentiate between right and wrong. It's like you wear your seat belt when driving because wearing seat belts save lives and not because of the fear of being caught by those policemen round the blind corner. Both have the same effect of compliance but there is a difference in the compliance attitude. Which is better?

  9. I am amused. Amused that some of the reader use all sort of excuses to make the caning sound right.

    Two wrong doesn't make one right. Many wrong are worst.

    I don't F*CKING cares those woman admit their "wrong" or not. What I care is our law. If the law are overwrite anytime(i.e. against the principal of civil law), then it is no different than toilet paper.

  10. Is repentance a form of earthly punishment? or Is repentance an act or deeds between one's self towards God? Does earthly punishment guarantees one's sins to be lighten in the hereafter? Is such ideology written in the holy books? Is this mindset against the aqidah? Do you believe that caning teaches repentance? Do you believe that earthly punishment would constitutes to a lighter sentence in the hereafter? What if I believe in this accepted laws and would you consider my aqidah as misleading? Repentance is an act between one's self and God and only God may/may not accept it. The question is now does caning, prison sentence or fines educates the society that leads to a righteous being? How do you define righteous? Is the enforcement officers righteous since they are being given that post? Are they 100% morally right?