KUALA LUMPUR: Stop whipping illegal immigrants as a form of punishment, Amnesty International urged Malaysia.
It also criticised attempts by the Government to muzzle freedom of expression.
Under Malaysian law, those staying in the country illegally are subject to a mandatory six lashes of the cane, fines and up to five years in jail.
“Degrading methods of punishment such as whipping should cease immediately if Malaysia has accepted to uphold the protection of human dignity,” said Nora Murat, Amnesty’s Malaysia executive director.
The whipping sentence was added to Malaysian immigration laws in 2002 amid concern over the ramifications of having a large migrant workforce.
In the Malaysia chapter of its 2010 human rights annual report released on Thursday, the London-based group said 34,923 whippings were carried out for immigration offences between 2002 and 2008.
Malaysia, South-East Asia’s third-largest economy, has 2.2 million migrant workers, who are the mainstay of the plantation and manufacturing sectors.
Amnesty also criticised the Government for attempting to silence bloggers with the threat of jail sentences, and breaking up peaceful protests.
“Even a silent candlelight vigil was condemned (by the Government), with protesters arrested, thus denying the public the right to peaceful assembly,” Nora said. — AFP - Star, 29/5/2010, Stop whipping illegals, Amnesty tells Malaysia