Wednesday, August 4

Govt mulls abolishing whipping for illegal foreign workers — Nazri

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JAKARTA: Whipping for illegal foreign workers provided for under the Immigration Act would be proposed to be abolished as the punishment is seen as inhumane, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

He said the term whipping itself for an immigration offence had given a negative perception of Malaysia and in this regard, the government needed to study a new method to replace this punishment meted on foreign workers for staying in Malaysia without a valid permit.

“I will be meeting the Attorney-General to discuss the proposal as whipping foreigners who stay illegally in Malaysia does not benefit the country, and instead invite negative perception from other countries,” he said when met here, Thursday.

Mohamed Nazri, who is heading a delegation from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Malaysia on a three-day visit here since yesterday, had earlier today met Indonesia People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker, Taufik Kiemas, at his residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Mohamed Nazri, who is the minister in charge of parliament and law, said since whipping was introduced for illegal foreign workers, the problem of illegals had not lessened but became worse.

“Therefore, a new penalty such as imposing a big fine could perhaps replace whipping.” He said new technology such as the biometric system could be an effective measure to control the entry of illegal foreign workers into the country. Asked whether Malaysia planned to abolish whipping for other offences, the minister said it was more suitable for serious offences like rape.

“But if the people have a different opinion of whipping as punishment for rape, for instance, the government is prepared to consider abolishing it,” he said.

It is understood that most of the illegal foreign workers who received strokes of the cane were Indonesian nationals, and this has invited anti-Malaysia sentiments from non-governmental organisations in Indonesia.

The Malaysian Immigration law provides offenders a jail term or a fine, or both, and liable to whipping for illegal entry into Malaysia.

Mohamed Nazri believes that abolishing whipping for illegals would gain Malaysian law more respect, besides fostering goodwill and better relations with other countries. — Bernama