Malaysia: Deputy Prime Minister calls for review of pro-trans ‘cross-dressing’ ruling

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Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister has called for a review of last week’s landmark ruling against an Islamic law that prohibits “cross-dressing.”

Last week, the Malaysian Court of Appeal  said the law against cross-dressing by Muslim men breached the constitution and did not properly factor the lives of transgender women.

According to Bernama news agency, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said: “It is an extraordinary decision even though it is decided by the court.

“I read the statements of Islamic leaders such as muftis and the association representing Muslim lawyers who were surprised by the decision.”

He added that while he respected the Court of Appeal’s decision, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Negeri Sembilan state religious department should appeal to the federal court because of its potential impact on society.

Because Malaysian citizens are by law Muslim, they are subject to Islamic law under the double-track legal system.

“Men dressing or acting as women” could face up to three years in jail, while some states also ban “women dressing as men.”

Aston Paiva, the lawyer for the petitioners, said: “This is a landmark decision. It is historic. The state law is still there and they can still continue to make arrests, but you can now go to the high court and challenge this,”

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

Same-sex sexual activity remains illegal in the country.

Human Rights Watch has strongly demanded an end to the prosecution of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was sentenced to five years in jail on sodomy charges.