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Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian lawmaker called Wednesday for child sex attackers to be branded with hot irons, sparking criticism and mockery online for suggesting the introduction of the gruesome punishment.

Ahmad Lai Bujang, an MP from the United Bumiputera Heritage Party that forms part of the ruling coalition, made the suggestion during a parliament debate on child sex crimes.

"For the men who do this, we should heat up a hot iron and poke them with it," said the lawmaker.

The maximum punishment for child rape in Malaysia is 20 years in jail and caning, and there is no indication the government plans to follow through on Ahmad's proposition to introduce branding. 

Branding was used around the world mainly in medieval times as a punishment for crimes ranging from adultery to blasphemy, but is rarely seen in the modern era.

His remarks sparked a furore online, with one Facebook user labelling the idea "barbaric" while another said "this is not the dark ages".

"Why don't we brand him first for being stupid?" wrote Jalil Said on the networking site.

His comment came a day after another MP from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition sparked criticism for saying Malaysia should copy the bloody drug war spearheaded by President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines that has seen thousands killed.

"Poke wit hot iron rod (sic), shoot drug suspects -- any more barbaric ideas from (Barisan Nasional) MPs?" N. Surendran of opposition group the People's Justice Party said on Twitter.