Malaysian courts have ordered 45 illegal foreigner workers to be caned—the first to be given the colonial-era punishment in a continuing immigration crackdown, news reports said yesterday.
A total of 87 Indonesians, Indians, Bangladeshis, Thais and Chinese nationals were convicted and sentenced on Monday on charges of illegal entry and using expired work permits or forged documents, the Star newspaper reported. The sentences were handed down by various courts in the cities of Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Klang.
The Star said 41 people were sentenced to between two months and a year in prison while one man from the tsunami-hit Indonesian region of Aceh was sentenced to two weeks in jail. Of the remaining 45, one Indonesian was ordered to receive two lashes of the rattan cane while the rest were to be caned once, the Star said. It is not clear if they will appeal.
Human rights groups have said that caning, a holdover of British colonial days, is an excessive punishment for nonviolent crimes. It is a standard punishment for more than 40 crimes in Malaysia, ranging from sexual abuse to drug use.
Administered with a thick rattan stick, it splits the skin and leaves permanent scars.