We are on a roll! Malaysia must just love these happenings and the press, be it the official or unofficial media, have a litany of reports to fill their columns with.

One should however take note that the caning of these three women (for illicit sex i.e. having sex outside of marriage) was revealed by the Government through the national news agency, Bernama (Click HERE). We later find out that the first statement actually makes no mention about the caning of four men for the same offence.

An immediate question would be, “Has the Government shot themselves in the foot again?” My thoughts: NO and YES!

NO, because the Government was preparing the world for the caning of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno (who was convicted of consuming alcohol) and whose plight and Malaysia’s perceived hypocrisy has, rightly or wrongly, stunned the whole world. To manage that situation, the Government is now telling the world – “Look, these three women have been caned for illicit sex to make them realise their follies, make them repentant so that they can get back onto the right path. And based on these women’s responses, we have succeeded. And by the way, the caning ‘did not leave a mark’  (whatever that means). So, dear world, it is alright to cane Kartika after her meeting with the Crown Prince of the state of Pahang, who is officially the religious head of the state (click HERE)”.

Incidentally, the news release was made after approval from the weekly Cabinet meeting …. meaning Hishammuddin Hussein, the Home Minister, has got his back covered by getting his Cabinet colleagues to jointly take responsibility for this ‘Kartika’ response. His colleague, Jamil Baharom (Minister in PM’s dept) also lent his support later by saying that ‘100 strokes of syariah caning will not be equivalent to one stroke of civil caning’ (Click HERE). Boy, this is great ….. the extent the Government is going to ‘manage the situation’.

YES, because they did not cover all angles. Firstly, critics lambasted the Government for picking on the women and not the men. Then, the highly influential and respected Sisters-in-Islam waded into the controversy by alleging ‘this case constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia’. This has suddenly evolved into a highly sensitive time-bomb for the Government in dealing with the ever increasingly emancipated and broad minded female population of the country (Click HERE). The manner in which this matter is being handled appears to have somehow ostracised this particularly important segment of society.

That is why Hishammuddin (as reported in a foreign paper) had to respond later on in the day in a separate statement that 4 men were ALSO caned for the same offence (Boy, 4 men and 3 women in the same offence, they must have had an orgy!). Accepting it at face value is easy ….. but has it succeeded in addressing the overall ‘perception’ that the Malaysian Government is suffering from. Responding to critics with the word ‘Nonsense’ will wear thin over time! Being transparent vide disclosure will only be successful if the trust & confidence in the system is correspondingly prevalent! Why was the caning of the 4 men in the same case not disclosed in the first press release? Maybe, they were not caned at all ….. their caning may just be make-believe!! Our Government in general and Home Ministry, in particular, need some coaching in terms of stage managing things!

So YES, this screw up has made the whole matter murkier to the extent that further pot shots are now being taken at this whole episode ….. like why cane them since people who indulge in excessive illicit sex and/or orgies have a high propensity to become masochists (“someone who derives sexual pleasure from suffering, physical pain or humiliation” – as defined by!!


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