40 lashes for drinking, 100 for sex offences: Kelantan's amended Syariah Bill goes tough on errant Muslims

PETALING JAYA (The Star/Asia News Network, Bernama) - Apart from public caning, the recently passed amendments to Kelantan's Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 (Amendment 2017) Bill imposes greater punishments.

According to the amended Bill, consuming alcohol will be punishable with 40 strokes of the rotan, sodomy and illicit sex offences with 100 strokes and qazaf (false accusations of illicit sex and sodomy) with 80 strokes of the rotan.

Previously, consuming alcohol, sodomy and illicit sex offences were punishable with six strokes of the rotan and attempted illicit sex offences were punishable with three strokes of the rotan.

Offences such as consuming alcohol, sodomy, illicit sex, attempted illicit sex and qazaf will be punishable with public caning.

The Bill also empowers religious enforcement officers to handcuff suspects while video clips and other digital displays will be able to be tendered as evidence in court.

Penalties will be also be raised and imposed on parents of juvenile offenders from fines not exceeding RM200 to RM5,000.

The amendment was passed on Wednesday (July 12) by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly.

The Bill, which also introduces community service punishments of not more than a year, gives authorities the power to suspend or remit punishments, or reduce or increase punishment for offences involving juvenile offenders, those who are in contempt of court or who give false statements.

The Bill also provides new provisions for offences that impede testimonies of witnesses in court proceedings.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters on Thursday (July 13) the amended Bill only applies to Muslims in Kelantan. He said the Kelantan government had the right to table the enactment amendment Bill as it had the majority in the state assembly.

"However, although the amendments have been passed, these still require the consent of the Kelantan Sultan for implementation," he added.