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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March 2005, 05:51 GMT
Malaysia's floggers get pay rise
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

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Malaysia's 50 executioners and floggers are to get a pay rise.

Specially selected prison staff will see their bonuses for each stroke they inflict rise by over 300%.

Hangmen will get a 60% rise to reflect the difficult nature of their job - receiving 500 ringgit ($131) instead of the current 300 ringgit.

With threats to flog an estimated half a million illegal migrants thought to be hiding in Malaysia, prison officers could be in for a major windfall.

Foreigners caught and convicted of immigration offences can be whipped up to six times.

Previously, officers only received only three ringgit ($0.80) for each blow they struck using a rotan, a heavy bamboo rod.

But now they will get 10 ringgit ($2.60).

Executioners will also enjoy a pay rise in a country which has hanged some 358 people over the last 24 years.

According to the prison service, few officers applied to be executioners and the country is experiencing a shortage.

However, flogging jobs are hotly contested, with only one in five applicants being accepted.

The service says only hardened staff are suitable.

But the government has stressed that illegal migrants will be flogged gently in comparison with those sentenced for violent crimes.

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