Kelantan Is Now The First State In Malaysia To Allow Public Caning For Syariah Offenders

The amendment was passed by the state assembly on 12 July.

Cover image via EPA/

Kelantan has approved public caning following an amendment to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002.

The PAS-led state will now be the first in the country to introduce public caning to Syariah offenders.

A young woman being caned in public in Banda Aceh for violating the Syariah law.

Image via Chaidder Mahyuddin/Getty

New Straits Times (NST) reported that the amendment was passed by the state assembly today, 12 July.

Canings for offenders under the Syariah law are usually carried out in enclosed areas (prisons), away from the view of the public. The cane used is usually smaller compared to to the one used for judicial caning and the offender will be fully dressed, receiving the strokes on their back instead of bare buttocks like in the judicial caning system.

"However, with the amendment, the sentencing can be carried out in public or prison depending on the court’s decision. This is in accordance with the religion, as in Islam the sentencing must be done in public," said Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah today, as reported by NST.

"Among the amendments are the introduction of public canings and the acceptance of video and other electronic equipment as evidence in court trials."

Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah

Image via NST/Faris Zainuldin

Other amendments include the technical details of how the caning will be carried out. According to the NST report, the amendments were proposed by Kelantan state Islamic Development, Dakwah and Information committee chairman Datuk Nassuruddin Daud and seconded by state Women, Family and Welfare committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi.

Nassuruddin said that it has been about 15 years since changes were made to the system.

PAS has been pushing for the enforcement of the proposed amendments to the Syariah Court Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 or RUU355 that seeks far greater punishments for Syariah offenders

Under Act 355 that was passed in 1965 and amended in 1984, a Syariah offender can be punished with a jail sentence of no more than three years, a fine of no more than RM5,000 and six lashes, if convicted.

PAS seeks for amendment to increase the Syariah Courts' punishment caps to a 30-year jail term, a fine of up to RM100,000, and up to 100 strokes of the cane.

Cover image for illustration purposes only.

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