Caning might momentarily mask the unwanted behaviour, but the risk remains that the caned delinquent will resume the impugned behaviour with a vengeance when the caner permanently leaves the scene, or when the delinquent becomes too strong or too powerful to be intimidated by the caner.
We need not waste our limited column space enumerating the instances of horrendous behaviour our caned leaders and public figures engage in when they attain positions of influence.
Kartika's case, which was to have been the first time a woman was caned under Islamic law in Malaysia, is under review following widespread publicity and international criticism.
The caning, however, has raised new questions about whether a state religious court can sentence women to be caned when federal law precludes women from such a punishment, while men below 50 can be punished by caning.
Donna Guest, the group's deputy Asia-Pacific director, said in a statement that Malaysian authorities caned more than 35,000 mostly foreigners since 2002.