Religious authorities in Malaysia yesterday postponed the caning of a Muslim woman convicted of drinking alcohol until after the holy month of Ramadan.
The planned caning of 32-year-old mother of two Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has drawn criticism from rights groups concerned by the rise of Islamic law in the traditionally moderate country, even though Kartika had accepted the punishment.
Earlier yesterday it appeared she might have been freed when a court order that would have transferred her to a prison where she was to have been caned was ruled invalid by an Islamic justice official.
Kartika was released from a van that would have transported her to the prison in Pahang State in eastern Malaysia where she committed the offense that she admits and for which she wanted to be punished in public.
“The punishment has not been canceled, it was postponed because of Ramadan,” Pahang State Executive Councillor for Religion, Missionary Work and Unity Mohamad Sahfri Abdul Aziz said.
Ramadan, a time of fasting and contemplation for Muslims, started on Saturday and lasts a month and Mohamad Sahfri said that the decision was taken after consultations with Malaysia’s attorney-general.
Kartika, who has admitted that she drank beer at a hotel in Pahang in December 2007, said that she still accepted the sentence, but wanted to be treated fairly.
“I am shocked, but I remain steadfast with my decision,” Kartika, wearing a cream-colored, traditional long Malay dress decorated with flowers and a headscarf, told reporters after the state announced it would push ahead with the caning.
“All I want now is to know my true situation and do not treat me like a football,” said Kartika, who had worked as a nurse in Singapore until her trial.
While caning is a common punishment under Malaysia’s civil code, as it is in neighboring Singapore, no woman has been caned and the severity of the punishment has generated criticism that this modern majority-Muslim state was becoming more hard line.
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit