Model says she’s true-blue M’sian


Model says she’s true-blue M’sian
She wants to quell speculation that she’s S’porean or Indonesian
KARTIKA Sari Dewi Shukarno, the woman in the centre of Malaysia’s caning controversy, has come out to defend her nationality.
02 September 2009

KARTIKA Sari Dewi Shukarno, the woman in the centre of Malaysia’s caning controversy, has come out to defend her nationality.

The 32-year-old said she was born a Malaysian and raised in a village in Perak before moving to Singapore.

The mother of two drew international attention after she refused to appeal against a sentence which stipulates that she would get six strokes of the cane for drinking beer.

She would be the first woman in Malaysia to be caned. But the Syariah Court in Pahang has announced that the punishment would be meted out only after the fasting month of Ramadan.

It is understood that the religious authorities are also reviewing her case.

In reports in two Malaysian dailies yesterday, Kartika, who has been living in Singapore for the past 15 years after marrying a Singaporean, was quoted as saying her ancestors are Malaysians.

She added that they were people of significance in Malaysian history.

Perak ruling class

One was a Perak ruler who fought off the British, while another was a member of the ruling family in the state, she claimed.

She revealed these details, she said, not because she wanted to gloat, but to rebut what she called ‘negative’ postings on blogs about her.

She told Harian Metro: ‘I am a Malaysian citizen. So many have presumed and said I was born in Singapore or that I’m from Indonesia.

‘But the truth is, I was born and raised in Malaysia.’

She added: ‘I am upset to read some of these blog posts which debated and argued over my nationality. Some even suggested that I should be stripped of my citizenship.’

She told Berita Harian Malaysia that her paternal family has blood ties to Ngah Ibrahim, a Malay nobleman and chieftain in Perak who fought the British in the late 19th century.

Her mother’s ancestors include Megat Terawis, a Perak bendahara (palace-appointed chief of a Malay state), she said.

Kartika disclosed the information to reporters who had followed her to the tomb of Ngah Ibrahim in Taiping, where she went with her father to pay her respects.

She added: ‘These bloggers should research their information carefully before they post negative things on their blogs.’

On 20 Jul, a Syariah High Court in Kuantan fined her RM5,000 ($2,000) and sentenced her to six strokes of the cane after she was caught drinking beer at the lounge of a resort hotel in Cherating in 2007.

She pleaded guilty and paid the fine but refused to appeal her caning sentence, instead, urging the court to carry it out in public.

The court’s decision to cane her, the first Muslim woman to be caned under such laws in Malaysia, has sparked not only international media coverage, but saw fierce debates over the appropriateness of the sentence.

According The Star, her father hopes Kartika will be spared the cane if her case comes up for review.

Said Mr Shukarno Mutalib, 60: ‘I’m looking forward to hearing good news and I have sought the counsel of Perak Mufti, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, who assured me everything would be okay during this holy month.’

But he said he and his daughter would accept the authority’s decision.

He also said he was touched by the support from those who sympathised with his daughter’s plight.

Said Mr Shukarno: ‘Now that it’s Ramadan, it’s never lonely at home. People come with kind words for Kartika as her child is sick. There are those who bring food and come to break fast with us.’

Mr Shukarno also said the media hype had brought members of many Muslim non-governmental organisations, such as the Sisters in Islam, to his doorstep.

He said: ‘This shows that not all Islam-based NGOs are lobbying for Kartika to be caned. Some want her to undergo religious classes and such as punishment.’

He pleaded with reporters to stop harassing Kartika for comments on the phone or by staking out their family home as she is looking after her second child, who is down with pneumonia.


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