Transgender rights in Malaysia have suffered a serious setback with the Federal Court overturning a landmark decision yesterday on a technicality, lamented Human Rights Watch (HRW).
As such, the US-based NGO hopes Malaysia would take steps to repeal discriminatory laws that expose transgenders to abuse.
“Transgender women in Malaysia face horrific abuses every day, and laws that criminalise their very identity constitute a barrier to justice.
"The Malaysian government should take immediate action to revoke these discriminatory laws and end the climate where ugly abuses against trans people are tolerated," said Neela Ghoshal, senior lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights researcher at HRW in a statement today.
HRW cited the Sept 10 attack against transgender activist Nisha Ayub, and its own report on abuses against transgenders by the authorities last year as examples.
The Federal Court yesterday unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal's decision on the Negeri Sembilan case related to cross-dressing by three transgenders.
With this, the impugned state law, Section 66 of the Negeri Sembilan Syariah Offences Enactment that bars cross-dressing of males as females, remains legal.
The Federal Court ruled that the application to review the state law should be made through a referral to the High Court and then directly to the Federal Court, not by way of judicial review, as in Article 4(3) and 4(4) of the federal constitution.
The earlier Court of Appeal's decision was hailed as a landmark decision as it ruled that persecution of cross dressing was unconstitutional.
In his 46-page written judgment in that decision, justice Mohd Hishamudin Yunus had noted that Article 4(1) of the federal constitution declares the constitution as the supreme law and any law, including syariah, that runs contrary to the constitution shall be considered void.Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/315115#ixzz3o392EV8D