Sabah not Kelantan first state to implement public caning in Malaysia

Public caning held in a courtroom in Tawau, Sabah.

The first State in Malaysia to publicly caned offenders of Sharia laws are not Kelantan. That honour goes closer to Sarawak – our neighbour Sabah.

The Sabah Syariah Court recorded five cases involving whipping sentence since 2011, reports The Borneo Post today.

Sabah Syariah Chief Justice Datuk Jasri @ Nasip Matjakir said the three cases of open whipping sentence were done by Tawau Syariah Court in 2014 and 2016. The whipping unlike in Acheh and probably Kelantan is not in open public arena, but held in the Syariah courtroom.

In 2014 a case involving a woman initially supposed to be held in Tawau prison. However, the offender was only punished with whippings – not imprisonment, so it could not be done in the prison compound. Ironically, the whipping is requested by the offender according to the news report.

A few year later, in 2016, a couple committing ‘Zina’ were also whipped, in a civil court, in the presence of a group of seminar participants who wanted to see the execution of Sharia whipping sentence.

Video of the whipping executed against the couple went viral on Youtube below.

Jasri said the video was not an offence because it could help the public understands and differentiate the Sharia whipping sentence, whether it is cruel or rather educating.

Cases of illegal sexual intercourse or Zina is charged under Section 80 (2) of the Sabah Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 which provides for a jail term of up to three years or a fine of RM5,000 and a maximum of six strokes of the cane, upon conviction.

According to Jasri, the execution of the open whipping sentence was sufficient to help the Government to explain on the proposed amendments in Bill 355.

The execution of the sentence put Sabah as a reference, he explained.