Human rights groups have asked for the immediate halt of judicial caning in Malaysia since the government revealed that almost 30,000 foreign workers had been caned over the last five years.

Numbers emerged after Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein responded to a parliamentary question on March 9 by stating that 29,759 foreigners had been caned for immigration offences between 2005 and 2010.

Andika Abdul Wahab from the watchdog Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), said in a statement: “Judicial caning is a form of torture and ill-treatment against human beings because it causes physical suffering, psychological problems an constant trauma.”

He also added that caning is part of a barbaric solution and that it is prohibited by international law.

An old woman paddles a boat in the ocean of Semporna, eastern Malaysia. Pic: AP.

Malaysia is one of Asia’s biggest importers of labour and workers mostly come from neighbouring country of Indonesia. They are usually arrested during large-scale crackdowns on illegal migrants.

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