Malaysian official gives Islamists “full license” to act against trans people

Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, Minister of religious affairs has given “full license” to authorities at the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to take action against the transgender community.
Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, Minister of religious affairs has given “full license” to authorities at the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to take action against the transgender community.

“It is not just about arrests,” Al-Bakri said “but also to provide religious education so that the transgender community will “return to the right path”.

Think tank expresses alarm at anti-transgender sentiment by Islamic affairs minister

Nisha Ayub

Transgender activist Nisha Ayub asked in a Facebook post “Why target us, the minorities? Why?

“What does the Minister Of Islam meant when he says ” Giving Licence for authorities to act against Transgender?

So now we are not allowed to even walk in public being who we are? Are we now being denied our rights as a human being and a citizen of Malaysia?” she asks.
“What happened to our rights based on the Federal Constitution of Malaysia? Rights to Personal Liberty, Rights to Equality, Expressions, rights to movement, rights to be protected, rights to religion, and so on ….?”

The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) terrorized and detained two people attending a Malaysian beauty pageant in 2016 including attorney Siti Kassim who can be heard defending the participants in English. Unlawful actions such as this are what the so-called ‘permission’ by Minister Al-Bakri will yield in the future.

Justice for sisters @justice_sisters shared this video in a tweet of the raid by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) denouncing the video and the reporting as “appalling journalism. complete violation of privacy & shame on efforts to publicly humiliate #trans women.”

Jameel Rahman wrote a post on planet transgender celebrating a victory Nov. 8, 2014, Malaysian Trans: Court Victory for Trans* Rights. ‘Cross-Dressing’ Ruling deemed Unconstitutional.”

Rahman wrote “It is a blissful historical day for the Transgender Community of Malaysia as they celebrated the winning on the appeal against “cross-dressing” rulings, or known as Section 66 where the ruling against male cross-dressing as female were executed onto Transwomen, which is now is void.”

On July 17, 2014, the Court of Appeal ruled that section 66 was unconstitutional and void because it violated the appellants’ rights to live with dignity, earn a livelihood, and directly affects their freedom of movement, expression, and equal protection of the law. The court stated that transgender people “will commit the crime of violating section 66 the very moment they leave their homes to attend to the basic needs of life, to earn a living, or to socialize; and be liable to arrest, detention and prosecution. This is degrading, oppressive and inhuman. It is discriminatory and oppressive and denies the appellants the equal protection of the law.”

Sadly, that ruling was overturned on a technicality.

On 8 October 2015, the Federal Court of Malaysia overturned the ruling on procedural grounds. The Court found that the three women should have obtained judicial permission of a Federal Court judge when they commenced their constitutional challenge. Although a High Court judge had granted permission in November 2011, the Federal Court ruled that it had done so erroneously..

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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