Kartika: Just get it over with
Feb 1, 10
Behind the media frenzy and religious debates, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno is a heartbroken woman who just wants a second chance at a normal life.
The 33-year-old part-time model (left) made international news last July after she became the first woman in the country to be sentenced six strokes of the rotan for consuming alcohol.
Speaking to Malaysiakini in an exclusive interview, Kartika said the entire ordeal had destroyed her marriage, strained her family and two children.
Kartika was detained by the Pahang religious authorities last year for consuming beer with five other non-Muslim friends at a hotel in Cherating.
Half a year later, she has paid the RM5,000 fine meted by the Syariah Court and but legal and political wrangling have put her whipping sentence on hold unofficially and indefinitely.
Her canning sentence was deferred, at the eleventh hour, on Aug 24 ostensibly to observe the month of Ramadhan last year.
The following day, she was advised to appeal the sentence by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“I don’t know why there is a delay. My lawyers said the authorities cannot carry out the punishment because they don’t have people trained to carry out such punishment.
“(Furthermore, my lawyers said) there is pressure from the Sultan (of Pahang) as he does not approve of the sentence,” she said, during the interview at her family-owned resort in Kuala Kangsar.
Toll on marriage
Kartika said she has not received any written notices about her sentence which have impaired her ability to plan for the future.
“I have accepted my fate and repented. I just want to get this over and done with,” she said.
The first casualty to the uncertainties faced by Kartika had been her 13-year marriage with network engineer Muhammed Afandi Amir, 38, which have ended in divorce since the court sentence.
Together, they have two children Mohamad Azfar, 7, and Wann Kaitlynn Saridewi, 5 (right), which are in Kartika’s custody.
According to Kartika her husband had “changed” since the incident and could not cope.
“Of course I still love my husband and I know he made a mistake and did not purposely say he wants a divorce, as at the time, he was under pressure,” she said, while in tears.
“If we are meant to be together, all I ask (of him) is to let me settle my things first. I want to be a good and a loving wife. If I’m still in this situation I don’t want to go back to him,” she added.
Currently, Kartika is living with her parents at her birthplace of Kuala Kangsar and is hoping to patch her relationship with family and friends.
Not a publicity seeker
Her father Shukarno, expressed his wish for the authorities to carry out the whipping sentence because it was what prescribed in law.
“I don’t want the prime minister to use his power to stop the punishment. I don’t want him to use his veto powers. It is not nice. I worried that canning would harm her but I trust that the judgement was made according to Islam and we respect it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kartika has denied claims that she was cashing in on her ordeal with plans of releasing a book on the entire episode.
“If I wanted publicity, I wouldn’t want it in this form. This incident has brought so much shame to my family,” she said.
She adds that the book was dedicated to her five-year-old daughter and hopes she would one day understand what happened to her mother.
“The reason I am writing is to explain to my daughter, one day when she grows up and she must know about my life. I am worried what she will think about me,” she revealed.
Kartika promises a poignant tale with a complete account of the drinking incident and her experience in court.