Malaysian model’s dad hopes she won’t be caned

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 31 ( The father of the Malaysian model, who could be the first woman to be caned for drinking in public, is hoping that she would be spared the punishment.

Shukarno Mutalib Sunday said: “I’m looking forward to hearing good news and I have sought the counsel of Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, who assured me everything would be okay during this holy month.”

Shukarno said he and his daughter Kartika would accept any decision made by the authorities.

Kartika, 32, was fined and sentenced to six strokes of the rotan by the Syariah High Court July 20 after pleading guilty to drinking beer at a hotel in Cherating in 2007.

It is understood that the religious authorities are considering reviewing her case, New Straits Times said Monday.

The matter is to come up for a review before the syariah (Islamic religious) court where no appeal can be made since it is time-barred.

The issue hit international headlines after a distraught Kartika refused to appeal and said that she would rather take the punishment in public with her family in attendance.

Shukarno said he was touched by the support from those who sympathised with Kartika.

“Now that it’s Ramadan, it’s never lonely at home. People come with kind words for Kartika, as her child is also sick. There are those who bring food and come to break fast with us.”

Shukarno also said the media hype had brought members of many Muslim non-governmental organisations, such as Sisters In Islam, to his doorstep.

“This shows that not all Islam-based NGOs are lobbying for Kartika to be caned. Some want her to undergo religious classes….”

Malaysia has no precedence of a woman being caned.

Kartika was to have been detained at the prison last Monday so that the caning could be carried out. But minutes after she was picked up, she was released.

Pahang Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohammed Sahfri Abdul Razak had then said that the sentence would be carried out after Ramadan.

However, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and others have others appealed for a review of the case.

Malaysia is a multi-religious society of 28 million people with Muslims in majority and has significant Chinese and Indian minorities.