It is time to abolish corporal punishment

George Varughese

Modified 2 May 2017, 11:01 am

The Malaysian Bar is deeply saddened by the death of 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi. We are appalled by the circumstances that led to his tragic death.

Questions have now been raised about the proper supervision and oversight of tahfiz schools in general, given that they fall outside the scope of the Education Ministry. The issue of employment of suitable staff who are adequately qualified and trained, and have the appropriate temperament to work with children, also needs to be addressed.

The tragic and untimely demise of Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi leads to the question of whether it is time to abolish all forms of corporal punishment. It is, at the very least, a cruel and inhumane punishment and, in this young boy’s case, very likely constituted excruciating pain and even torture.

It should be noted that the amendments to the Child Act 2001, brought into force on Jan 1, 2017, have done away with the punishment of caning of children by the civil courts. It is time to extend this abolition to other courts, schools and even private homes, as caning can so easily be - and has indeed been - abused. The death of even one child as a result of corporal punishment is one too many.

The Malaysian Bar extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi.

GEORGE VARUGHESE is president, Malaysian Bar.

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