Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian government has "cleared" the token caning of a Muslim women model if the Shariah court decides to enforce the sentence on her for drinking beer in public, forbidden by Islam.
Malaysia`s Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein gave the nod to the Prisons Department to cane 32-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.
Kartika was fined Rs 60,000 and ordered to be whipped six times for drinking beer in a hotel in Cherating last year. Her sentence has been deferred until after Ramzan Hishammuddin said the prison department officials had demonstrated how the part-time model and mother of two would be caned.
He said the woman office tapped the back of a chair with the cane while demonstrating to him.
"There was little force involved and it was not going to inflict pain, not even like the caning carried out in schools in those days.”
"I am now satisfied that the caning can be carried out by the department if the court decides to proceed and enforce the sentence," he told a local daily here.
Hishammuddin had recently said the Ministry needed to study the proper procedures before caning the woman according to Shariah law, adding that he would not allow the department to execute the caning sentence if it did not have the knowledge and expertise to do it.
Several parties, such as the Bar Council, have called for the sentence to be annulled. Hishammuddin said that although he was now satisfied that the department was able to conduct the caning, he still felt it had no experience to do
"This is because the woman (Kartika) will be the first to be caned (under Shariah laws applicable to Muslims). Four men who have received caning sentences by the Shariah Court are appealing their sentences," he said.
On the merits of Kartika`s caning sentence, the minister said he had told the department not to get embroiled in this.
"That is not their purview. It is the judicial process which decides that. If the caning sentence is to be imposed, it is their duty to carry it out fairly," the Star quoted him as saying.