|Courts & Tribunals
On 05 January 2017, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal chaired by Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam with justices Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim, allowed the appeal by the Director-General of the National Registration Department and set aside the 18 July 2016 High Court order which allowed a 30-year-old woman who underwent gender replacement surgery to be declared a man and to change the last digit of her identity card to reflect the male gender [R2.16]. See below.
On 18 July 2016, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered that the National Registration Department (NRD) update a trans man’s information on his identity card to better reflect his gender identity and chosen name [C2.15], [R2.14].
On 08 October 2015, the 5-judge Federal Court overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeals that found a provision of the Sharia code of the state of Negeri Sembilan used to arrest transgender women was unconstitutional. The decision was based on procedural grounds, the Court ruling that the case should have been brought in the Federal Court as it concerned the constitution [R2.13].
On 22 June 2015, the Human Rights Watch was reported to have said that an Islamic court in Malaysia convicted nine transgender women from the northeastern state of Kelantan of violating laws that prohibit “a male person posing as a woman”. All women were fined and two received a jail sentence but were released on bail pending an appeal [R2.12].
On 19 June 2015, High Court Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad dismissed the application of m2f transgender Vasudevan Ramoo for an order that the National Registration Department change his identity card details to reflect his new gender status as a woman, citing the Court of Appeal’s 2013 decision in the Kristie Chan v National Registration Department Director-general case, which adopted the position in UK case Corbett v Corbett (1970) and the UK case Bellinger v Bellinger (2003) [R2.11].
On 02 January 2015, Justices Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Yunus, Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Lim Yee Lan in the Court of Appeal released their full judgment in favour of three Muslim transgenders Muhamad Juzaili Mohd Khamis, Shukur Jani and Wan Fairol Wan Ismail who were convicted of cross-dressing under Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 that punishes Muslim men who wear women’s attire with a fine not exceeding RM1,000, or jail of not more than six months, or both. The Court ruled that the framers of the Federal Constitution had confined the word “Islam” in Article 3 – which says that Islam is the religion of the Federation – to the areas of marriage, divorce and inheritance law. The Negri Sembilan state government has applied for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision [C2.10], [R2.9].
On 07 November 2014, Judge Mohamad Yunus in the High Court in Seremban overturned a law that bans Muslim transgender women from wearing female clothing in Negeri Sembilan, saying it was ‘degrading, oppressive and inhumane’. The landmark ruling that could trigger similar challenges in other states [C2.8], [R2.7].
On 11 October 2012, Judge Datuk Siti Mariah Ahmad in the Negeri Sembilan High Court dismissed a challenge by Adam Shazrul Bin Mohammad Yusoff, Mohammad Juzaili Bin Mohammad Khamis, Shukur Bin Jani and Wan Fairol Bin Wan Ismail to a law barring Muslim men from dressing or posing as women, prompting concern that more transgender people in the Muslim-majority country may be prosecuted [D2.6], [R2.5].
On 05 October 2012, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed without costs an application by Miss C, a 35-year old transsexual to review a High Court decision rejecting her application to have her gender changed from male to female on her MyKad. The quorum chairman Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail said Malaysian medical reports were needed to support the Malaysian application rather than reports from Hong Kong and Thailand [R2.4].
On 30 August 2012, the high court in Seremban heard the case of Juzaili Khamis, 24, Shukor Jani, 25, Wan Fairol Wan Ismail, 27, and Adam Shazrul Yusoff, 25, four trans women challenging the Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal Enactment, which forbids them from behaving and dressing like women, in contradiction of the federal constitution, which states that: “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty”, bars discrimination on the grounds “of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender” and protects freedom of expression [R2.3].
On 19 July 2011, the High Court in Eastern Terengganu reportedly ruled that Ashraf Hafiz, a 25-year-old transgender individual who underwent male-to-female gender transition surgery, was not entitled to a change of sex on her national identity card. The court opined that a person’s sex is determined at birth and cannot be changed. Daily Pak Banker (Pakistan) [R2.2].
On 07 January 2011, High Court Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim rejected an application by a post-operative transgender female to compel the National Registration Department (NRD) to alter the gender field on her identity card [R2.1].
In 2005, (reportedly) Judge (Datuk) V.T. Singham said the court had no power to make such a declaration but in another case presided by Datuk James Wong, the court allowed an application to change the gender in the person’s identity card [R2.1].