Federal Court allows NS Gov’t to challenge ruling on transgender


The Federal Court has a caveat: it will only rule on whether Islamic edict contravenes the Federal Constitution.

(Free Malaysia Today) – The Federal Court on Tuesday allowed the Negeri Sembilan government and four other applicants to challenge the Court of Appeal’s ruling against an anti-cross-dressing state Syariah law, which criminalizes cross-dressing, but with a caveat.

It will only rule on whether Section 66 of the Negeri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 contravenes Articles 5(1), 8(1), 8(2), 9(2) and 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

The five-man bench was led by Justice Md Raus Sharif.

All 13 Malaysian states prohibit Muslim men from “dressing as women,” while three states also criminalize “women posing as men.”

The laws, enforced by state Islamic Religious Departments, do not define what constitutes transgender dressing or posing. State Religious Department officials and police regularly arrest transgender women and subject them to various abuses, including assault, extortion, and violations of their privacy rights.

Umno, for the first time, had four representatives present at the Federal Court to observe the case.

Umno lawyer Khairul Anwar Rahmat, who led the representatives, claimed Umno was an interested party as it had over three million Muslim members. He added that he would brief Prime Minister and Umno President Najib Abdul Razak on the case. “Umno is serious about matters that involve Islamic jurisdiction.”