To Cane or Not To Cane – that is the question now

But there is another thing I find disturbing. The offence took place in Pahang, sentence was passed in Pahang, but the punishment in Selangor? Apa hal? Pahang hasn't got anyone to cane people kah?

Obviously when I wrote an essay titled Philistines and Pharisees, many people forgot and made light of my experience as an ex ADUN in Pahang. During that term I was able to see first hand how government departments function. That included the operations of religious authorities. I know their capacities and limitations. There are very good and righteous people there. But very often, their enthusiasm in carrying their duties is a case of the sprit willing, the body isn't.

Their limitations include the political and social and cultural context within which they operate. So I say once again, I do not make light when I speak of religion from a certain aspect of which I am familiar with (the implementation and action). Saya faham akan keterbatasan persekitaran dan linkungan dalam mana institusi perlaksanaan agama Islam beroperasi. Maka saya menyeru, apabila kita membuat teguran jangan lah segera naik angin dan menuduh kita yang mempunyai pandangan berbeza memusushi Islam.

When I wrote my first essay on this issue, it produced many very agitated comments. Ini biasa- those who feel they are a little bit more religious will judge others less accomplished. One day, I may want to share my experience moving among the faithful when I served as information chief to the PM a few years back when I brought the practice of Ratib Haddad into mosques and musallas in Pekan. If I were to be judgmental, I would be able to say, without exception, those I met to be very religious in their appearances were really paper tigers. Tapi ini bulan puasa, saya tak mahu cakap lah. Saya pun tak mahu di cap sebagai VS Naipaul.

There was even one who asked me not to comment on religious issue in this holy month of Ramadan. Yes sir, I understand the suggestive insinuations there. I am ready to admit my knowledge in these sublime matters of Islamic laws is meagre. Tapi jangan jadikan itu sebagai alasan tidak boleh bertarbiyah dengan hikmah yek? Most other commentators decried what they saw as my attempt in taking this issue lightly. I assure you I am not. I have responded so in my comments section.

If I were to write that essay using a fountain pen, the ink has not even dried up, when the Pahang religious authorities made a volte face. It was reported thus:-

Everything seemed set for her punishment when she was scheduled for caning on Monday at Kajang prison. But Pahang Religious Department officers made a literal U-turn after picking her up at her house and returned her 45 minutes later after stopping by the roadside for 40 minutes.