Domestic laws not bound by UN treaties, PAS MPs say after Shariah caning backlash

Zurairi Ar
Malaysia is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in addition to two other out of nine United Nations core human rights treaties. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 ― Two Terengganu MPs from PAS asserted today that Malaysia’s Shariah laws are not bound by international treaties, following global outrage over his state government’s public caning of two Muslim women Monday for attempted lesbian sex.

Kemaman MP Tuan Che Alias Hamid hit back at critics who claimed the caning was against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, telling them to check its application before expressing their critical views.

“We have domestic laws that apply to all citizens in this country, and not bound to any international treaties,” he said in a statement.

He cited writings by former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad to back his argument, but did not specify which.

“It is very unreasonable to compare domestic laws that are more binding with international level laws of treaties,” he added.

Malaysia is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in addition to two other out of nine United Nations core human rights treaties.

It has yet to accede to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment that would arguably outlaw caning, but Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has said that Putrajaya will sign it, along with the rest of the treaties.

Tuan Che Alias was backed by fellow PAS MP Shaharizukirnain Abdul Kadir, who slammed the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) for critcising the sentencing.

“This shows that Suhakam actually prioritise international laws that are not binding compared to national laws that are in effect, and is far from understanding the principles behind Islamic legislation and the benefits of its implementation,” the Setiu MP said.

He also claimed that the sentencing was the best way of handling the matter, and it did not infringe on human rights at all.

On Monday, two women found guilty for attempting to have lesbian sex were caned six times in public at the Terengganu Syariah Court, as around 100 people watched the punishment being carried out.

In response, Suhakam urged the government to end all forms of corporal punishments, accusing the Kuala Terengganu Shariah Court of deliberately humiliating the women by allowing the media to observe the caning of the two alleged lesbians.

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