Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Religious Bullies Beseige a Malay Wedding















Image credit: http://weehingthong.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/the-evil-that-religious-men-do-to-transgenders/

On June 08, 2014, the Negri Sembilan religious authorities beseiged a Malay wedding in FELDA Sungai Lui Timur in Jempol and detained 17 transgender women for violating a Syariah law ban on cross-dressing.
 
The following day, the women were charged and sentenced under Section 66 of the state’s Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 although the law is currently under constitutional review in the Court of Appeal. Section 66 reads that any male person who, in any public place, wears a woman’s attire and poses as a woman shall be guilty of an offense and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM1000, imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.
 
As changing gender marker on legal documents is not permitted in Malaysia, "transwomen" (or mak nyahs), are not recognized as female.
 
In fact, they were not even informed of their rights to legal representation. Sixteen of the women, all first-time offenders, were fined RM950 and jailed seven days each. Failure to pay the fine in seven days will increase their jail time to six months. One of them, a minor, was sentenced to attend counselling by the Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS) for the next one year.
 
The lack of compassion from the so-called authorities was obvious. In fact, these women were brutalized. They had claimed that they were verbally abused, their clothes were ripped off and they were choked and kicked. When they were presented to the Syariah Court, they were handcuffed in pairs, heads shaved, and nails cut short. The handcuffs were not removed even for toilet breaks. Instead, they were switched to longer linked handcuffs and were told to go in pairs.
 
Thanks to the generosity of Malaysians, these transwomen received sufficient funding for bail. However, the judge’s conditions for the stay of sentence were too restrictive, and tasking them to present family members within 30 minutes was a deal-breaker. For some, it was logistically impossible. Others were estranged from their families or did not want to be seen in their present condition.
 
But why the humiliation? Isn’t Islam supposed to show compassion? After all, these transwomen were wedding planners (or mak andam) and invited guests to the said event. Why can’t the authorities leave these people be?
 
When queried by The Malay Mail Online, JHEAINS’ operations chief Ahmad Zaki Hamzah said he was ordered to not comment on the bust. But the Jempol Islamic Religious Office confirmed that the raid was conducted on Sunday, although it was not authorized to divulge more details. And Jempol police chief Supt Hamzah Alias could not be reached for comments at the time of writing.
 
These bullies in authority are nothing more than brutish beasts, curs and hinderlings. What has Malaysia become?

1 comment:

Linda Fernandez said...

This is what happens when one decides to play God.