Umno VP distances party from Khairy’s criticism of Terengganu lesbian caning

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
On Monday, Khairy criticised the public caning carried out at the Terengganu Syariah Court by saying it went against the tenets of dignity and mercy espoused in Islam. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

SHAH ALAM, Sept 6 — Umno does not share former Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s critical views on the caning of two alleged lesbians by the Terengganu Syariah Court, said vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The former minister insisted Khairy’s remarks were the latter’s personal views and not representative of the Malay nationalist party that coincidentally formalised an electoral pact with Islamist ally PAS today.

“That is his personal opinion, because the official view and sentiments of the party would be decided in a meeting among top party leadership, or at least in an Umno management committee meeting,” he said.

When asked for Umno’s official view of the controversial public caning, he said this has not been decided.

On Monday, Khairy criticised the public caning carried out at the Terengganu Syariah Court by saying it went against the tenets of dignity and mercy espoused in Islam.

While the former youth and sports minister acknowledged that the state’s Islamic laws allowed for the corporal punishment, he said there were more compassionate way to deal with the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Ismail added Khairy was entitled to his opinion, but repeated that this should not be taken as indicative of Umno’s position on the matter.

“So, anyone can express their personal opinion, but if it was not the collective decision from the supreme council or management committee, it is deemed as his personal opinion.

The two women were punished by six strokes of the cane, under Sections 30 and 59(1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu) 2001, after they pleaded guilty to lesbian sexual relations.

In addition to being caned, the women aged 22 and 32 were also required to pay a fine of RM3,300.

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