Govt to look at more humane punishments to replace caning, says Wan Junaidi

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says a study on alternative punishments for flogging is expected to be presented at the Parliament session in October. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 21, 2022.

THE government through the Legal Affairs Division and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is studying alternative punishments to replace caning which is seen as cruel and inhumane.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is of the view that lashing up to 15 times is considered excessive as it takes only three lashes to “destroy the flesh” of a person even though many may disagree with that view.

“This is my personal view that whipping is brutal and inhumane. I am speechless when I mention the punishment of caning up to 15 times as one would pass out after only three lashes. So, I want a holistic study done by certain parties on the punishment.”

“After all, the issue of whipping was inherited from colonial authority. Why must this punishment be retained? Why do people in Malaysia get flogged, when they don’t get whipped in England,” he said when met by the media after speaking at the Keluarga Malaysia Symposium: Achievements and Hopes, in Putrajaya today.

The symposium was officiated by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob this morning, in conjunction with his first year as prime minister. Wan Junaidi said the whipping sentence needed to be reviewed and the prison and judicial transformation policy needed to study the matter besides looking at alternative punishments to mandatory death laws.

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He said a technical committee would be established to conduct a study in addition to gathering input from all parties and stakeholders.

Wan Junaidi said that through amendments in the law, a judge will be given discretion to determine how many lashes will be given according to the offence or crime committed.

“For example, if a person’s crime is very severe for murder and torture, the judge can use his discretion,” he said.

When asked about a suitable alternative punishment to replace caning, Wan Junaidi said he believed the method of flogging according to Islamic law (Islamic caning) is seen as more appropriate.

He said a study on alternative punishments for flogging is expected to be presented at the Parliament session in October for the 11 offences for which the mandatory death penalty is imposed for nine offences under the Penal Code and two offences under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971.

He said the government will also examine the recommendations of alternative punishment for offences under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and 22 other offences that provide for the death penalty but with the court’s discretion. – Bernama, August 21, 2022.

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