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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Public caning reminiscent of ancient Rome, says Kelantan lawyer

Nik Elin Nik Rashid says the public caning for shariah offences law passed by the Kelantan government is 'so regressive' that it can only be compared to what occurred behind the Colosseum walls in 70 AD.
Nik-Elin-Nik-Rashid-canning-public-kelantan-1PETALING JAYA: Lawyer-activist Nik Elin Nik Rashid has likened the public caning of shariah offenders to the “barbarity” of feeding unarmed criminals and prisoners of war to hungry lions in ancient Rome.

The comparison came after the Kelantan state assembly passed an amendment to a law, allowing for shariah criminals in the state to be caned in public.
Nik, who is a Kelantan native, said the step the state government had taken was “so regressive” that it could only be compared to what occurred behind the Colosseum walls back in 70 AD.
“The Colosseum arena was built in ancient Rome in 70 AD. It could accommodate 50,000 people at one time and was widely remembered as a place where unarmed criminals and prisoners of war were thrown into a den of hungry lions to the roar of cheering crowds. It was a cruel and barbaric way to die.
“Today, I hear news that Padang Merdeka next to Masjid Muhammadi will be the ‘new arena’ where shariah criminal offenders will be punished,” she told FMT.
Earlier today, former information minister Zainuddin Maidin, speaking about the public caning, had quipped on his blog that Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had a new “tourist attraction” to promote abroad.
Nik echoed a similar sentiment, saying the public canings would act as “entertainment” for the locals.
“You see, in Kelantan, there is not much in the form of entertainment. So many Kelantanese would be hungry for this sort of entertainment where they can watch mostly women being whipped for the immoral offence of illicit sex (six strokes presently), intent to have illicit sex (three strokes presently), drinking alcohol (six strokes presently), and sodomy (six strokes presently).
“Once Act 355 is passed, these three to six strokes will be enhanced to 100 strokes, and 40 to 80 strokes for alcohol consumption.
“I may stand to profit from it as I’m sure there would be many from the outskirts of Kelantan who would like to see this public spectacle and they might need a place to stay.
“I could rent out our condo as a hotel,” she said, adding that her family’s condominium was right next to Padang Merdeka in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
She said as a Kelantanese, she found it “dumbfounding” that the state government had placed so much emphasis on moral policing as opposed to the “numerous” troubles that Kelantanese had “long faced”.
“We must ‘commend’ the Kelantan state government for ensuring that the public would be afraid to commit immoral sins of illicit sex and alcohol consumption because, to them, it is a bigger sin to drink alcohol and have illicit sex than to be corrupt, abuse power, rob, or abuse drugs.
“Forget the state’s poor economy, illegal deforestation and unsupervised logging and many more economical ills.
“Forget that every year, Kelantan has unresolved flooding and irrigation problems.
“Forget that the state’s cleanliness is nothing short of embarrassing and that hygiene is a serious problem because of the lack of proper infrastructure.
“I have a few houses in the centre of Kota Bharu town and there is no proper sanitation and we pay RM100 to the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) to come and deal with our waste with their tankers. We have no proper drains. Mind you, we live in the Beverly Hills of Kota Bharu at Jalan Telipot.
“And even after being faced with all these long-standing issues, what’s of prime importance to the state government is to punish moral offenders.”
Nik claimed that not only had the Kelantan state government lost the “true meaning” of Islam, it was portraying a more “barbaric and backward” version of Islam.
“We live in a multi-religious society. If we want to act as Muslims, we must show how wonderful our religion is to the others. We must show them the beauty of Islam.
“When Islam is being portrayed as barbaric, unmerciful, claustrophobic and uncivilised, then we are serving a great injustice to our own religion.
“What happened to Islamic principles of al-‘Adalah (justice), al-Musawah (equality), al-Hurryyah (liberty), al-Mashlahah (welfare) and al-Tasamuh (tolerance)?
“The state should be concentrating on good governance, good communities with a sustainable economy, creating a society that is clean, conscientious, structured and free – not implementing harsh punishments.”
Yesterday, another prominent Kelantan native, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, had spoken on the state government’s passing of the law as well, saying he was not surprised as “PAS had nothing to offer the people for the coming general election”. - FMT

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