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Monday August 1, 2011

Zaid: Give leeway on sex change

PETALING JAYA: Laws and processes enabling people to change their gender should be made easier, Kita president Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said.

The former de facto law minister said any change in the status of transgenders would not harm others or cause damage to the society.

“We should take people as they are,” Zaid said in reference to the case of Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abdul Aziz, 25, who could not get his name changed to Aleesha Farhana, after undergoing a sex change in Thailand two years ago.

In memory: Supporters of Mohd Ashraf, who passed away, holding a candlelight vigil in front of Malaysian Bar Council in Lebuh Pasar Besar in Kuala Lumpur. — FAIHAN GHANI / The Star.

Ashraf died on Saturday after suffering from unstable angina with cardiogenic shock, 12 days after the High Court ruled that there was no legal statute to grant his application based solely on a sex-change operation.

In a tweet, Zaid said, “Bit late isn't? We could have saved her with less hypocrisy and a bit of kindness. What say u Minister?” in response to a report in a Malay newspaper that Ashraf should not be humiliated.

“What is so sacrosanct about gender?

“These are changes in the body. Only the person knows what he or she is going through.

“It is arrogant to say we know better,” he told The Star yesterday.

Pusat Rakyat Loyar Burok human rights lawyer K. Shanmuga said the Government should seek the views of all parties and come up with a solution.

He pointed out that a precedent had been set in the case of JG v Pengarah Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara in 2005.

In the case, Justice James Foong held in favour of JG, who was declared female and allowed to change the last digit of her identity card to reflect her new gender.

Prof Dr Sim Kui-Hian from the National Heart Association said a possible reason for someone in their 20s to suffer a heart attack was genetics.

It could also be due to heavy smoking or high cholesterol levels.

The national heart attack registry showed that the youngest patient to have suffered a heart attack was 21 and the oldest 99, he said.

“Without the person's heart history, it is difficult to comment on Ashraf's death,” he said, adding that 25% of heart attacks occurred among Malaysians aged 50 and below.

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