KOTA BARU: Places such as stadiums, mosque compounds and halls will be the most likely venues for public caning events in Kelantan, says Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakub.
He said public canings against syariah offenders however can only be carried out after the necessary amendments on the relevant syariah enactment are gazetted.
He said the amendments, which were approved in the state legislative assembly sitting last year, are in the process of being gazetted.
He said the amendments would allow caning punishments to be carried out in public as according to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 (Amendment 2017).
“The state government had amended several enactments last year including the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment and Kelantan Criminal Syariah Code Enactment 1985.
“The Criminal Syariah Code Enactment 1985 is still in the process of getting approval from the coming state assembly sitting.
“The amendments under the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment is to increase the penalty, as stated under Provision 355. The punishment for musahaqah offences (for lesbian couples or sex between two women) includes caning.
“If the amendments are gazetted, public caning can be carried out in places such as at mosque compounds, in halls and also stadiums,” he told reporters after launching the Kelantan Hududullah Day celebration here on Wednesday.
Also present were Deputy Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah; state Islamic, Dakwah, Information and Region Affairs committee chairman Datuk Mohd Nassuruddin Daud; and Kelantan Religious Affairs and Islamic Department director Datuk Che Mohd Rahim Jusoh.
Ahmad said apart from lesbian offenders, those who commit zina (close proximity), consume alcoholic drinks and commit qasaf (false accusation of adultery) can also be caned in public if the amendments are gazetted.
“No one has been caned in the state for lesbian offences so far. As for the other offenders, they were caned in prison, away from the public,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kelantan Islamic Affairs and Religious Department (JAHEAIK) director Datuk Che Mohd Rahim Jusoh said to date, a total of 13 individuals have been caned in the state for committing offences under the state Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 1985.
The offences took place between 1987 and 2011.
He said the 13, mostly men, underwent the punishment at the Pengkalan Chepa Prison.
He said the 13, aged between 20 and 55, committed offences such as close proximity and alcohol consumption.
“JAHEAIK recorded 10 cases under the Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 1985 since 1987.
“All 13 were caned between three and six times each,” he told NSTP.
He said the punishments meted out the offenders are more akin to a warning them so that they would repent.
“The sentences given are not enough compared to their offences but we are hoping they will change. The punishments are more as a lesson not only to the offenders but also to the local community,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd