Beating a Woman in Malaysia

August 24th, 2009

Anyone following the news lately has heard of the case of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a young woman in Malaysia who has been sentenced under Sharia law to be “caned” for having a beer.  This is a young woman, 32 years old, with two young children.  She will be punished in prison, away from public view, with six strikes from some sort of “cane” instrument.  In other words, she’s going to be beaten for having a beer.

Drinking is illegal in Malaysia because of Muslim laws, and all ethnic Malays are considered to be Muslims.  This unfortunate woman has apparently been selected to set an example.  CNN just ran a report on the situation, going out of their way to point out that “caning” people for drinking in Malaysia is very unusual and that this will be the first woman to receive that punishment.

Perhaps part of the reason for meting out such a severe punishment is the fact that she’s very attractive and a part-time model.  To the primitive Muslim men who sit in judgment on these kinds of sins, that alone is probably worth a good beating.

The kind of beating she’s going to get, now delayed until after Ramadan, isn’t a minor punishment by any means.  From a report in The New York Times:

[Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi] said the rattan cane to be used on Kartika would be lighter than the one used on men, and its purpose was to ”educate” rather than punish. … 

Caning, administered on the buttocks, breaks the skin and leaves permanent scars.

From an excellent editorial in The Wall Street Journal:

This is no trivial punishment. “At the end of the caning, those who receive more than three strokes will be in a state of shock,” a Singaporean director of prisons explained in a 1974 interview. “Many will collapse.” No wonder Malaysian civil courts outlaw caning as a punishment for women.

For those who insist on diminishing the absurdity of Sharia law in civilized countries — like the U.K. — this should be a lesson on the kinds of things that can happen once that door is opened.

Anyone who isn’t outraged by this example of primitive Muslim culture in practice needs to have his or her moral compass re-calibrated.

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5 Responses to “Beating a Woman in Malaysia”

  1. Brian Bagent |

    This really hits home for me, literally. I lived just outside of Kuala Lumpur when I was a kid. I wonder if she would have gotten away with this “crime” if she had been ethnic Chinese (they make up about 25% of the Malaysian population).

    Too bad England gave up this former colony.

  2. Robert |

    This is a prime example of how laws need to be re-evaluated. I wish this girl well, one beer for one beating of a mother of two kids is silly.

  3. Harvey |

    Another outrage from the “uncivilized” Muslim world.

  4. Tom |

    Brian, I’ve never been there, or anywhere in that part of Asia. I’d like to visit someday if there’s ever an opportunity.

    My reading about the case indicated that every ethnic Malay is considered to be Muslim and subject to Sharia law, no matter what their personal beliefs may be. That’s a little over half the population.

    I’ve spent time in many former colonies of Western powers, particularly in Africa. I haven’t seen one in which the people didn’t lead happier, safer, and more prosperous lives under colonial rule. Some colonial powers were more benign and positive than others, of course, but in almost all cases what followed after the end of colonialism hasn’t been pretty.

  5. Brian Bagent |


    We are certainly in agreement on that point, and most especially for British colonies and for countries that were otherwise heavily influenced by the UK: the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Egypt, etc. The Netherlands and particularly Italy seemed to make a mess of things, though I dare say that Somalia and others were much better off under Italy than they are now. France didn’t do so well, either.

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