KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13, 2009 (AFP) – A Malaysian religious court has sentenced a man and a woman to six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol, in a rare decision in the multicultural nation, a report said Tuesday.
Mohamad Nasir Mohamad, a 38-year-old father of four, and 22-year-old waitress Noorazah Baharuddin, were separately found drinking beer in pubs last year in central Pahang state.
A third accused, part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old Singaporean permanent resident, has also been accused of the same offence and faces a decision on May 4.
The New Straits Times said the Sharia High Court in Pahang handed down the sentences Monday and fined the pair 5,000 ringgit (1,400 dollars) each.
“The caning is to shame them and should be done at any of the prisons in the country,” judge Abdul Rahman Yunus was quoted as saying by the daily in his ruling.
He said the sentence was intended as a deterrent to other Muslims, who make up the majority of the population in Malaysia.
The New Straits Times said this was the second time such a sentence has been handed down, after the same judge sentenced two Muslim brothers to six strokes of the cane in 2005 when they were caught drinking.
However, the caning has yet to be carried out as the brothers are appealing the decision.
While Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, with large Indian and Chinese minorities, alcohol is widely available and Muslims are rarely punished for consuming it.
“It’s rare but it’s within the law and Muslims are subject to such law in this country,” lawyer Pawancheek Merican, a sharia law committee member of the Malaysian Bar Council, told AFP.
Salahuddin Ayub, a lawmaker and youth chief of the opposition Islamic party PAS said he “agreed” with the court ruling.
“The ruling only concerns Muslims and it does not affect the non-Muslims. It is to remind the Muslims not to drink,” he told AFP.
Malaysia has a two-track legal system, with the civil courts operating alongside state-based Sharia courts in which only Muslims can be tried for religious offences.
In the civil courts, caning is carried out with a long, thick length of rattan which breaks open the skin and leaves lasting scars.
“However, under the sharia law, the caning is more to teach and bring shame to the person rather than to inflict pain,” lawyer Pawancheek told AFP.
The judge said in the New Straits Times report that the cane to be used on the convicted pair would be not more than 1.22 metres (four feet) long and 1.25 centimetres (half an inch) thick, and that the offenders would be allowed to wear their clothes.
What an incredibly clever and effective way to deal with the problem??
…and you wonder why I think you muslims are living in the past
And what would your modern way of dealing with the issue be? Mind, ignoring is not dealing with it.
if drinking in the club is not appropriate then what about those celebrities, vvip, vip, minister who attend certain functions / events and toasing wine and champagne in the public and even appeared in the magazine like tatler, prestige etc..emm…i am confuse…
“About time you realize you CANT legislate morality..”
That’s a bad argument.
Murder and rape are immoral. So if someone rapes a young girl, there must not be a law for that?
Someone is caught cheating in an exam. He shouldn’t be punished for it?
Oh how fun life would be if human moralities aren’t legislated.
Pssst, this is a country with Islamic roots. If you don’t like that Islamic laws are imposed on Muslims (mind, not on people professing other religions), then feel free to leave.
Senang cite pantau je kawasan yang boleh minum arak. Kawasan ye bukan tempat, jadi club-club tak kira sebab org Islam pun ligat ke club-club. Contoh nya di Ibukota hanya dalam segitiga emas saja alkohol dijual dan boleh consume. Memandang kan ni negara Islam, jadi review berkenaan arak ni memang aku sokong diketatkan semula.
Note to self: avoid drinking in Pahang pubs….