High Court dismissed application by group of transwomen

October 11, NST

SEREMBAN: The High Court yesterday dismissed an application by a group of transwomen challenging Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 pertaining to men dressing like women.

Judge Datuk Siti Mariah Ahmad said the court had never questioned or disputed the section.

“The court finds that the applicants are embracing Islam as their religion, and thus should not be excepted from the section,” she said, adding that the court had also referred the matter to the muftis before arriving at its decision.

Datuk Ishak Sahari and Mohd Fairuz Iskandar, who represented the state government and state Islamic affairs department, prosecuted.

Lawyer Aston Paiva, represented the four applicants – Muhamad Juzaili Mohamad Khamis, 24, Syukor Jani, 25, Wan Fairol Wan Ismail, 27, and Adam Shazrul Mohd Yusoff, 25.

The section denies the right for men to dress or act as women in public and provides for a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both, upon conviction.

The applicants had claimed that the enactment was inconsistent with the articles enshrined in Federal Constitution as it violated:
* Article 5(1) of the Federal constitution which enshrines the right to personal liberty;
* Article 8(2) which states that “there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender in any law”;
* Article 9(2) which enshrines the right of every citizen to move freely throughout Malaysia;
* Article 10(1)(a) which states that every citizen has the right to freedom of expression; and
* Article 4(1) which declares void any law which is inconsistent with the federal constitution.

The applicants claimed to have undergone psychological evaluation in Hospital Kuala Lumpur in which a psychiatrist had classified all of them to possess gender identity disorder from an early age.

All four, who are working as bridal make-up artists, claimed that they developed the mannerisms of women since they were teenagers.

They also claimed to have been arrested, battered, sexually molested, and subjected to degrading treatment.

Muhammad Juzaili had been detained four times in 2010 and charged three times under the section. Twice he was convicted and paid fines of RM700 and RM1,000 respectively.

Shukor and Wan Fairol were separately detained twice.

Adam Shazrul had been arrested twice since 2005. He was convicted once and fined RM800

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