First introduced to the country by their Colonial masters in the nineteenth century, this practise has reached an “epidemic” according to an Amnesty International report released on last Monday.
The report “A Blow to Humanity” shows doctors are being paid to revive victims when they lose consciousness – just so their torture can continue. While officers receive bonuses for every lashing they deliver – enabling them to as much as double their salary.
Sam Zarifi the Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International condemns the doctors for behaving “absolutely contrary to international medical ethics. Instead of treating the victims, the doctors are preparing them for punishment.”
Caning in Malaysia is legal for men under the age of 50 and boys over the age of ten. The report describes how “it rips into the victim’s naked skin, pulps the fatty tissue below, and leaves scars that extend to muscle fibre” in a practise that they claim amounts to no less than torture.
Thus under International law, Amnesty international claims any official involved is liable to prosecution worldwide for violating the human rights of prisoners.
Under Malaysian law, one can be canned for up to 60 crimes beginning with trespassing and forgery. Moreover a new dynamic to the practise emerged this decade when immigration violations were added to the list in 2002.
Tens of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers have been caned and due to language barriers the report shows they often do not understand why, nor are they prepared for their fate. Every year approximately 6,000 refugees and 10,000 prisoners are subject to the cane.
The old Victorian practise was introduced by the British Empire in Malaysia prior to their independence in 1957, however most former colonies have abandoned it, and Amnesty International is urging Malaysia to immediately follow suit.