Domestic abuse: Public caning not the answer

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PETALING JAYA: Lawyer-activist Nik Elin Nik Rashid has rejected public caning as a form of punishment for abusive husbands, calling it a form of torture.

Lawyer-activist Nik Elin Nik Rashid
Lawyer-activist Nik Elin Nik Rashid

Speaking to FMT, she said it was more important to educate society and men to be civilised and to respect their wives.

“Teach men that violence shows a lack of power and self-control. Especially towards their wives.

“Whipping them publicly is not the answer,” she said.

Her comments came after PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad made a statement in Parliament yesterday supporting a suggestion by Amanah’s Kota Raja MP Siti Mariah Mahmud that public caning be used to punish abusive husbands and educate the people.

Nik Elin said domestic violence involving assault and battery is a criminal act that falls under the Penal Code.

“If the husband is found guilty of assault under the Penal Code read together with the Domestic Violence Act, he should be imprisoned for two years and/or fined up to RM4,000,” she said.

She added that the victim must also be protected from further abuse by the husband.

“As a form of rehabilitation, there should also be counselling in prisons and community work, and support groups should help the victims – in this case, the wives.”

The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) agreed, saying public caning as a form of punishment violates human rights.

WAO communications officer Tan Heang Lee said such a punishment was both humiliating and degrading.

“We support rehabilitation programmes. We do not agree with public caning as it is a humiliating and degrading form of torture,” she told FMT.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Siti Rohani Abdul Karim tabled the second reading of the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2017 in Parliament yesterday.

She said the amendments were aimed at increasing the protection of victims by providing for the Emergency Protection Order (EPO) in addition to the existing Interim Protection Order (IPO) and the Protection Order (PO).

The insertion of 13 new sections allow applications for protection orders be made by the victims, the victims’ lawyers, welfare officers or police officers.

The Bill was passed yesterday.

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