Public caning unconstitutional, can ruin lives, cautions PH leader

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, Sept 5: Pakatan Harapan (PH) National Women chief for Sarawak Affairs Voon Shiak Ni strongly condemns the recent public caning of two women who were convicted of being lesbians.

“I strongly condemn the execution of public caning on the two women on their conviction of having a lesbian relationship by the Syariah court in Terengganu,” she said in a statement today.

Voon was commenting on the country’s first case where the two women aged 32 and 22 were canned in a courtroom in front of more than 100 attendees on August 30.

“It was shocking. It is not something to be lauded about being the first state to carry out public caning as this is an act that not only inflicts pain on the skin but also a lifetime scar of public humiliation that may lead to long-term adverse pyschological impact,” she said.

She also pointed out that such a punishment was “unconstitutional under the Federal Constitution”.

“One may think that public caning and humiliation can be an effective deterrence, but you can be ruining one’s life forever,” she cautioned.

She said the court had meted out the punishment with the hope the women could repent and turn over a new leaf.

“But the aggravated effects of public humiliation may run down all the spirits and the strength to live a normal life again.

“I strongly support all concerted efforts of the rights groups to call for a ban on public caning in Malaysia.”

Voon also pointed out that the public were now fearful that the execution of public caning in Terengganu would become a precedence.

“I also wish to highlight on the inconsistency of Malaysia’s laws and the Syariah laws on the issue of prohibition of corporal punishment on women convicts.

“Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibits corporal punishment against women convicts, but the same punishment is allowed under Syariah law.

“We are hopeful that the issue on the said inconsistencies can be addressed accordingly to ensure that there is no infringement on human rights,” she said. — DayakDaily