The recent caning punishment meted out on a lesbian couple in Terengganu was milder than the ones carried out by school disciplinary teachers, said state Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.
He said the caning under the syariah law only aimed at educating the public without causing injury to the offender, and its implementation should not cause confusion and perceived negatively.
“I’m not sure if the parties who protested against the punishment have the knowledge on how the caning is carried out.
“They should get the right information, because in reality it is not as bad as it sounds.
“In fact, I personally talked to several people who were present and witnessed the caning and they said it was lighter than the ones carried out at schools.
“Don’t put syariah caning in the same context as the civil ones as the two are very different,” he said, commenting on criticisms from several quarters regarding the caning.
On Sept 3, the two women, aged 22 and 32 were caned six times after being found guilty of attempting to have sex in a car in Kuala Terengganu on April 8. They were also fined RM3,300 or four months in prison, if they failed to pay the fine.
Ahmad Samsuri said the caning in Terengganu was not the first as Pahang, Kelantan and Sabah had previously implemented the similar sentencing.
“The caning was carried out by the federal government agency, the Prisons Department ... there is certain procedure to follow and the five-minute sentencing carried out that day sent fear among the people around the world that they can’t do this kind of thing, and we pray that this culture does not exist in Terengganu,” he said.
Promoting the state via bridge run
Meanwhile, in separate development, the state aimed at increasing the participation of international runners in the Sultan Mahmud Bridge International Run (LAJSM) in order to place the event in the world-famous tourism calendar in the future.
Ahmad Samsuri said more promotional efforts would be implemented through the State Tourism Department to attract professional runners, especially from overseas.
“This year, a total of 53,000 participants joined LAJSM including 3,000 participants are from the state, 4,000 are from outside Terengganu while 1,000 international participants from Kenya, Japan, United States, Laos, India, France, United Kingdom, Singapore and Indonesia.
“We intend to attract more professional runners from abroad as well as to popularise Terengganu as a world-famous holiday destination,” he told reporters at the flagging off the run at the Dataran Batu Buruk in Kuala Terengganu today.