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Judicial CP - April 1994

Straits Times, Singapore, 9 April 1994

Proposal to cane illegal-abortion doctors

Suggestion made to Malaysian government


MALAYSIA may consider imposing mandatory caning on errant doctors who perform illegal abortions at their clinics, Health Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datuk K. Kumaran has said.

The Star newspaper quoted him as saying that mandatory caning was one of the proposals received by the government for the toughening of laws following a spate of illegal abortions in the country.

He said on Thursday that a more deterrent penalty would instill fear among errant doctors since it was difficult to convict them because of the lack of public cooperation.

"Nevertheless, we hope to increase the existing penalty and intensify moral education to reduce unwanted pregnancies," he said in Ipoh.

The law now provides for a jail term of between three and seven years, depending on the age of foetuses, for doctors convicted of performing illegal abortions.

Datuk Kumaran said, to date, police were investigating two cases and the ministry could only act against the errant doctors after their convictions in court.

"We can either de-register the doctor concerned which will disallow him to practise, suspend him for a period of time, and disgrace him," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

"Doctors must abide by the profession's code of ethics ... I know those involved in illegal abortions have made their millions," he said.

On Tuesday, police found four foetuses in a raid on a clinic in Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Kumaran said the ministry was still investigating the case.

He said the Health Minister would make a statement on the matter soon. He said that, in the long run, the ministry hoped to curb the number of unwanted pregnancies through moral education and the dissemination of information on family planning. The Education Ministry would also provide sex education in schools.


Courier Mail, Brisbane, Australia, 10 April 1994

Ban flogging, says hangman

By Nick Cater

SINGAPORE -- THE Malaysian hangman who executed two Australia drug offenders in 1986 has rallied to the defence of an American teenager sentenced to be caned in Singapore.

Retired prison superintendent Rajendran Kuppusamy was responsible for the hanging of Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers and supervised the flogging of more than 1000 prisoners in Malaysia and Singapore during his career.

But speaking from his home in northern Malaysia last week Rajendran condemned flogging as a barbaric practice and said Michael Fay, 18, should be spared the rod.

Fay has lodged a presidential appeal for clemency against his sentence of six strokes of the cane for vandalism.

press cuttingHe was also sentenced for four months in prison and fined $A2000 after admitting spray painting cars and other offences.

If, as widely expected, his appeal fails, Fay is likely to receive his beating later this week.

Rajendran, 60, said Fay should be made to serve his prison sentence and pay the fine, but said flogging was too harsh a punishment for a young person who had not committed a violent crime.

He described the practice of beating prisoners with the rotan as an affront to civilised society and said those who supported its use did not know how severe the punishment was.

The beating would scar Fay for life, Rajendran said.

"Supposing his girlfriend sees them (the scars) or his children?" he said.

"Punishment is supposed to be for correction, not to leave scars for life."

Rajendran described how prisoners sentenced to the rotan would be fetched before noon and stripped naked in preparation for the beating.

They were strapped to a wooden tripod with padding to protect sensitive parts of the body such as the kidneys and spine, he said.

"There was an art of hitting. My men were trained using dummies with chalk lines on their buttocks," he said.

"If the flogger hit the padding the stroke doesn't count. The timing and aim of the stroke had to be just right, just like a golf swing."

He said one female magistrate who had witnessed a flogging fainted with shock.

"If the punishment was six strokes, three would be given in one spot on the buttocks and two lower down leaving two lines. On the first stroke the flesh turned purple.

"On the second stroke you could see blood and at the third stroke the blood would come away. It was very effective."

"Some prisoners would go proudly and come back proudly. Others would cry and yell."

Women cannot be caned under Malaysian or Singapore law.

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