Kelantan passes amended Syariah Bill which allows public caning

KOTA BARU (The Star/Asia News Network) - The Kelantan State Legislative Assembly passed on Wednesday (July 12) an amended Syariah Bill which would provide for public caning, among other things.

Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the amendment to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 was passed at the state assembly.

The Bill was part of the preparations to implement the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (popularly known as RUU355) if it is passed in Parliament, he told reporters outside the Kelantan State Assembly.

"There are 33 clauses in this Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 (Amendment 2017) Bill and are all amended to streamline penalties such as whipping, fines and some other technical processes," he said.

Mohd Amar added that the amendments were made in line with Islamic laws that required caning to be held in public to serve as a deterrent.

"However, the courts would decide if the caning is to take place inside prison or outside in a public space," he told reporters after the closing of the state assembly.

Earlier, State Islamic Development committee chairman Datuk Nassuruddin Daud had tabled the proposed amendments to the Enactment to include public caning and to allow video clips and other digital displays to be tendered as evidence in court.

The Bill also empowers religious enforcement officers to handcuff suspects.

Women, Family and Welfare committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi seconded the proposal, which was then passed at the state assembly without any fuss.

Nassuruddin said the amendment was "overdue" in keeping with time and Islamic practices.

The last amendments were made 15 years ago, said Nassuruddin.

Kelantan Mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad said that caning in Islam was not meant to cause bodily injuries but were to serve as a lesson to discourage the accused and others from repeating the offence.

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