is form of corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable...
used in Malaysia. Judicial caning, ordered as part of a criminal sentence imposed by a civil court on a male offender, is the most severe form of caning used in Malaysia and is always combined with a prison sentence for adult offenders.
A much less severe form of caning can be ordered by Sharia courts (normally spelled Syariah
in Malaysia). Unlike judicial caning, Syariah caning may be ordered for women as well as men, but only for Muslims, including non-Malaysians.
Schoolboys may receive caning with a light rattan for serious disobedience.
Malaysia has been criticised by human rights groups for its use of judicial caning, which Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...
claims "subjects thousands of people each year to systematic torture".
On the day of the caning, the prisoner receives a medical checkup. Those deemed medically fit are then isolated from the general prison population while waiting for their sentence to be carried out.
The prison director oversees the caning, along with a medical officer and another prison official. The director reads the terms of punishment to the subject, and asks the subject to confirm the punishment.
Save for an apron tied around the waist the subject remains unclothed after their physical. During the caning the subject is tied to an A-frame.
The maximum number of strokes that can be ordered under the criminal law is 24. Two different types of rattan
Rattan is the name for the roughly 600 species of palms in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia.- Structure :...
) canes are used:
- Thinner rotan, used for white-collar crime
Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" . Sutherland was a proponent of Symbolic Interactionism, and believed that criminal behavior was...
such as bribery
Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...
or criminal breach of trust.
- Thicker rotan, used for serious offences, particularly violent crime, drug possession, and sexual offences.
Officials in charge of the caning are required to fulfill certain requirements, and to be officially certified as caners. As of 2005, they are paid RM10.00 for each strike of the rotan, an increase of RM1.00 from a decade earlier.
The officials in charge of the caning begins with holding the rotan at face level. When the caning official is ready, the left hand is released and the rotan is swung with full force towards the subject's buttocks. To ensure maximum effect, the caning official ensures that the rotan's tip comes in contact with the subject.
The entire caning must be carried out in one session. If the subject faints or is rendered unconscious, the overseeing medical officer will halt the caning process. A court hearing may be held for the remainder of the caning to be converted into a jail sentence. Generally five or six months' time in jail is awarded for each remaining stroke.
Sanitary procedures are observed in order to avoid HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...
transmissions. In the case of HIV-positive subjects, new rotans are used, which are subsequently burnt upon completion of the caning process. Officials in charge of the caning wear protective smocks, gloves, and goggles.
Following the caning, the subject is taken to the prison clinic for medical treatment.
Malaysian law excludes the following from judicial caning under the criminal law:
- Men aged 50 and above (except when convicted of rape);
- Anyone judged unfit by a medical officer;
- The insane;
- Anyone under the age of 10
Boys aged 10 to 18 may be ordered up to ten strokes with a light cane.
Malaysia also has a separate system of sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...
courts for Muslims, which can order canings. This kind of caning is rarely implemented, and is quite different from, and much less severe than, judicial caning under Malaysian criminal law. It is intended to be shaming rather than particularly painful. The cane used is smaller and the recipient keeps his or her clothes on. It is administered with a "limp wrist" and without raising the arm.
Caning of three women in February 2010
On 9 February 2010 three Muslim women were caned by order of a Sharia court for having sex outside marriage, the first time women have ever been caned in Malaysia.
The advocacy group Sisters in Islam
Sisters in Islam is an organization of Muslim women in Malaysia which seeks to articulate women's rights in Islam by emphasising the need to interpret the Qur'an and the hadith in their proper historical and cultural contexts. It also advocates for the right of women to hold public office...
and the Malaysian Bar Council
The Malaysian Bar is a professional body which regulates the profession of lawyers in peninsular Malaysia. In Malaysia, there is no distinction between a barrister and a solicitor, in that, it is a fused profession. Membership into the bar is automatic and mandatory. The bar was created under the...
have both said that these canings violated Federal civil laws that prohibit the punishment against females.
There was also controversy surrounding the caning sentence for Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno. She was sentenced by a religious court in 2009 to six strokes of the cane and a fine for drinking beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...
in a hotel bar. Some said Kartika's sentence did not conform to Islamic law, but Mohamad Sahfri, chairman of the Pahang Religious Affairs Committee, said all relevant regulations had been observed.
On 1 April 2010 the Sultan of Pahang commuted the sentence to community service a day before the sentence was due to be carried out. Kartika has said that she would have preferred for the original sentence to have been imposed.
Corporal punishment is lawful in schools but only for boys, and is regulated by the Education Regulations (Student Discipline) 2006.
However, there are many reported cases suggesting the caning of schoolgirls, on their palms, is a common practice especially in primary school. While serious disobedience such as stealing, smoking, gangsterism and bullying are some of the offences punishable by caning, minor transgressions such as incomplete homework have also been dealt with by physical punishment
Physical punishment is any form of penalty in a judicial, educational or domestic setting that takes a physical form, by the infliction on the offender of pain, injury, discomfort or humiliation...
Guidelines on school caning
- Female students are not allowed to be caned
- Only the headmaster can carry out the caning
- A teacher can only cane when the headmaster delegates this power to him in writing, and he must be a permanent teacher of the school
- The student can only be caned on the buttocks or the palm. It cannot be done on bare buttocks and the student cannot be asked to lower his pants.
- The caning is to be meted out in a confined area
- The student's parents will be informed and invited to witness the caning
- Caning must only be for a repeated mistake or very serious offence.
Public caning is banned in schools after the Education Regulations (Student Discipline) 2006 came into force. Malaysian governments do not encourage caning for primary school students, but caning is allowed at the secondary level by the principal or a person to whom he delegates the power to.
Malaysia has been criticised by human rights groups for its use of judicial caning. A 6 December 2010 Amnesty International report entitled 'A Blow to Humanity' criticises the increasing use of judicial canings in Malaysia and claims the punishment "subjects thousands of people each year to systematic torture and ill-treatment, leaving them with permanent physical and psychological scars". The report alleges: "In Malaysian prisons specially trained caning officers tear into victims' bodies with a metre-long cane swung with both hands at high speed. The cane rips into the victim's naked skin, pulps the fatty tissue below, and leaves scars that extend to muscle fibre. The pain is so severe that victims often lose consciousness."
Malaysian officials reject the accusation of torture. The Prison Department states that canings are carefully supervised by prison authorities and attended by doctors.
Amnesty estimates that some 10,000 people are caned each year, many of them for immigration offences. The charity argues the practice could cause long-term disabilities and trauma and said many of the foreigners sentenced to caning did not get legal representation or understand the charge. Those who are caned are tied to a scaffold while wearing only a loincloth and specially trained officers are paid a bonus for each stroke.
- "Malaysia caning case sparks debate", Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...
, Qatar, 23 August 2009. Includes video with interview with Kartika. "Hukuman Sebat Rotan Dari Segi Perundangan Dan Pelaksanaan". (English: "Caning from an Administrative and Procedural Viewpoint") Prisons Department of Malaysia. Accessed 13 June 2008. Includes pictures of the caning procedure, and a photograph of wealed buttocks following the punishment.
Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks or hand . Application of a cane to the knuckles or the shoulders has been much less common...
- Caning in Singapore
Caning is a widely used form of legal corporal punishment in Singapore. It can be divided into several contexts: judicial, military, school, reformatory/prison, and domestic/private....
- Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment refers to the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishment can be flogging, caning, birching, whipping, or strapping...