MMA says would seek axe for docs who amputate under hudud

MMA president Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan (not shown) criticised the Kelantan government’s plans to have surgeons to perform amputations on criminal offenders, as it is against medical ethics and practices. File picture taken in 2005 of Muslims praying at a mosque in Kelantan. — AFP pic
MMA president Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan (not shown) criticised the Kelantan government’s plans to have surgeons to perform amputations on criminal offenders, as it is against medical ethics and practices. File picture taken in 2005 of Muslims praying at a mosque in Kelantan. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today vowed it will seek to disqualify surgeons who perform the unethical amputations on criminals convicted under hudud in Kelantan.

Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan, the MMA president, criticised the Kelantan government’s plans to have surgeons to perform amputations on criminal offenders convicted under the strict Islamic penal code.

“I implore the Kelantan government to rethink getting surgeons to do the ‘menial’ task of implementing a law that is against medical ethics and practice,” he said in a statement.

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) has told doctors not to be a witness or certify the whipping and caning of criminals, Tharmaseelan said the amputation of criminals’ limbs would be even more “serious”.

“Asking a surgeon to perform amputation is far more serious and definitely is opposed by the MMA,” he said.

Tharmaseelan stressed that doctors are bound by their professional ethics to do no harm.

He said any surgeons who carry out amputations under hudud risk being ejected from the profession, as the MMA would report them to the Malaysian Medical Council for breach of ethics.

“This may lead to him being expelled from the medical register as a doctor. The MMA will also take action against him, and expel him from the association,” he added.

Yesterday, Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the state is considering engaging the service of surgeons in performing amputation on offenders.

Hudud laws are different. Once an offender’s hand is amputated, specifically for thieving, the person is allowed to return home and the government does not have to bear the cost of keeping the individual behind bars,” he was reported saying by Utusan Malaysia.

He added that hudud is far more effective compared to the existing Penal Code, as it does not burden taxpayers, but also said due consideration would be given before punishments are meted out for offenders who steal due to hunger or other compelling circumstances.

In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II, but the strict Islamic penal code has not been enforced due to conflicts with the Federal Constitution.

On April 4, Amar said the state government is currently preparing two Private Member’s Bills that it will bring to Parliament soon, hoping to remove all obstacles to its implementation of the hudud law in Kelantan by 2015.

But PAS is facing unyielding resistance from its PR partners PKR and DAP, and has said it hopes to bank on votes from Umno MPs in order to get the bill approved. The Islamist party will need a simple majority of 112 votes for this.

Earlier today, MCA’s Dr Mah Hang Soon criticised the Kelantan government’s “barbaric and inhumane” proposal, also saying that surgeons would risk being barred from practising if the amputee complains to the MMA or MMC.

“The instruction under PAS hudud law is unjust as both ways, the doctors risk being penalized be it by the MMC, MMA if he executes the sentence or by the Kelantan state government if they refuse to perform the surgery,” the MCA Perak chairman and doctor said in a statement.

He added that no qualified medical surgeon would ever amputate a healthy limb.

Dr Mah also argued that those who were convicted under hudud would not be able to appeal, saying that even if a person is “completely innocent, he/ she would be left with a stump despite not breaking any laws at all”.

In Islamic jurisprudence, “hudud” covers crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, rape and sodomy. Punishments for the crimes are severe, including amputation, flogging and death by stoning.