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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 07:28 GMT
Malaysia mulls public flogging
By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
PM Abdullah Badawi has demanded swift action
Malaysia is to consider introducing public flogging as a punishment for child rape.

The suggestion follows the rape and murder of two 10-year-old girls in the space of a week.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has demanded swift action in the wake of the killings.

The death of the second victim, Nurulhuda Ghani, shook the whole country, prompting both outrage and a bout of soul-searching.

She was raped and sodomized before being strangled.

Police in the southern state of Johor have arrested three men in connection with her murder.

Her death followed the rape and stabbing of another 10-year-old girl in Malaysian Borneo a week earlier.

Deterrent

The country's de facto law minister said he would ask the cabinet to approve tougher punishments for such crimes.

Courts can already order rapists to be flogged but this might instead be carried out in public as a deterrent.

Murder carries the death penalty in Malaysia. Child rapists who kill their victims could be whipped publicly before being executed.

The cabinet will also be asked to consider bringing in a British-style register for sex offenders.

Emergency legislation left over from the days of Malaysia's fight against communist insurgents could also be used to detain those suspected, but not convicted, of multiple sex offences.

Police recorded a 17% increase in the number of reported rapes between 2000 and 2002. Almost two-thirds of the victims were under 16.


SEE ALSO:
Malaysia combats crime wave
29 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia: Caught in the middle
07 Mar 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia to tighten security laws
12 Nov 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysian Islamist calls for stonings
11 Jan 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Malaysia
31 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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