Friday, September 7, 2018

A Public Spectacle, A Tourist Draw

Of late, the east coast states of peninsular Malaysia are in the news.  

Already, on Monday, the public flogging of two women in a Terengganu courtroom in Malaysia made headlines around the world. 

The moment the 'wrong-doers' arrived at the Terengganu Syariah High Court, they were hounded by the media. 

Even before that, the state government agency, Institut Modal Insan Terengganu Sejahtera (i-MITS) had sought to get the public to attend this sham as a sign of “anti-LGBT solidarity”. At least a hundred people came to witness it.

This is a public spectacle that is degrading as it is humiliating.

Lawyer-activist Nik Elin Nik Rashid likened the public caning of syariah offenders to the 'barbarity' of feeding unarmed felons and prisoners of war to hungry lions in ancient Rome:

Image credit: Webpage 

In fact, state exco Saiful Bahri Mamat told the media that this form of punishment will surely pave the way for future canings under syariah law. 

He didn’t want to rule out the use of public caning in other cases, and the sentence can be carried out in any location determined by the court as outlined by section 125 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2001. 

Pahang must have been envious because the following day, the state announced it is considering it. I guess it also craves the limelight. 

Kelantan too doesn’t want to miss out and a day after that, it said it is mulling Syariah caning in a stadium. And why not? 

It has the potential to become a popular spectator sport.

The Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Jalan Mahmood, Kota Bharu can accommodate up to 30,000 people. 

Methinks, PAS must be thinking there’s entertainment value in the said event.

Bored locals are sure to attend because as we all know, there's not much in the form of entertainment. Besides, this can also be a new tourist attraction.

Given Kelantan’s dire financial straits, the government can open ticket booths and sell admission tickets! 

At RM5 per entry, PAS stand to collect RM150,000 every time they conduct public caning.

They can even organize weekly ‘performances’ because I’m sure there's no shortage of participants as I've read that the state has an abundance of “sinners”. 

Kelantan may be known as the “Corridor of Makkah” – but it has the highest cases of incest, the highest cases of HIV infections, and the most number of people viewing internet pornography. 

Not only that, but inappropriate attire (e.g. tight-fitted pants and tops), indecent behaviour (e.g. hugging and kissing in public, as well as holding hands if the persons involved are not family members) – all attract the attention of the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAHEAIK). 

Not wearing a tudung (head scarf) can mean a fine of RM1,000 or six months’ imprisonment – and this is according to Section 5 of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code 1985. 

So, why not incorporate public whipping in addition to fines and/or jail time? 

I'm saying that Kelantan’s approach to punishment can help earn the state much-needed revenue when promoted as a must-see event. 

Consider the maths. Take 30,000 fans multiply by RM5; then multiply by 52 weeks and they can potentially yield the state government an annual stipend amounting to RM7.8 million. 

That’s not bad considering there’s almost zilch cost involved in staging these 'shows'. It's not as if the 'participants' are getting paid!

LOL, I’m thinking we can promote this in Cuti-cuti Malaysia. I'm pretty sure there are out-of-state Malaysians who may also want to watch this circus!

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