Terengganu exco member says after today, public caning will no longer shock the public.
“Do not look down on the two women offenders as when they accepted the punishment, it meant they were repentant about their wrongdoing.”
This was the reminder from Syariah Court Judge Kamalruazmi Ismail following the execution of the sentence of six strokes of the cane by the Terengganu Syariah High Court on Monday on two women who were found guilty of attempting to have same-sex relations in a car in April.
He said that the sentence was a lesson, a reminder and deterrent to the offenders and society not to commit it in the future.
“Under syariah (law), caning is not meant to hurt or torture the offender. May this sentence be a lesson and reminder to all Muslims and show that syariah punishment is meant to educate and not cause pain,” he said.
Kamalruazmi was speaking at the start of the proceedings witnessed by Terengganu Syariah Chief Judge Wan Mohd Zakri Wan Mohd and Terengganu Syariah Senior Judge Rosdi Harun as well as more than 100 people, including government agencies’ representatives, NGO members, members of the media and the women’s families.
In a press conference later, chairman of the State Syariah Implementation, Education and Higher Education Committee Satiful Bahari Mamat said that the public will no longer be surprised by Shariah sentences such as public caning, after the two women were punished today.
“From what we can see today, I believe [such sentences] will no longer shock the public,” he was quoted as saying.
He insisted that the punishment was not to hurt the women, but to educate the public, Malaysiakini reported.
He hoped there would not be any negative speculation about the case, adding that all procedures were observed in meting out the sentence.
He also said that the caning served as a reminder to Muslims against committing ‘zina’, or illicit sex, labelling the offence as a “cancer that can spread in society”.
Additionally, Terengganu Bar chairman Sallehudin Harun reportedly said that today’s event will enlighten the public over the sentence.
“I was [initially] confused and thought that this was a heavy punishment. From what we saw today, the public would have a more positive picture,” he reportedly said.
The two women, aged 32 and 22, were sentenced to six strokes of the cane for attempting to have sex in a car at Dataran Arena Square, Dungun, at 1.50pm on April 8.
They were also fined RM3,300 or four months’ jail if they failed to pay the fine.
The women were charged under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu) 2001 which was read together with Section 59 (1) for lesbianism.
The duo was given the opportunity to appeal the caning sentence within 14 days but did not do so.
The caning was carried out behind closed doors by a female caning officer from the Kajang Prison.