Jakim to transgenders: Come to our rehab camps

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) are inviting those who suffer from "gender confusion" to attend its "rehabilitation" programmes.

Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said the programmes would be specifically suitable for the three people in the case where the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal to declare the Syariah laws on cross-dressing unconstitutional.

“I sincerely hope the three people named in the proceedings of the case would call us and volunteer to participate in this programme that we recommend,” he said in a statement.

In a landmark ruling last Friday, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of three transgenders who sought to have Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 declared unconstitutional.

It declared that punishing transgenders for cross-dressing contravenes freedom of expression.

The court also found that a state legislative assembly has no power to restrict freedom of speech, and only Parliament could do so within reason.

Currently, Section 66 allows the Syariah Court to punish any man who dresses or poses as a woman with up to six months in prison or be fined a maximum RM1,000; regardless of whether they had Gender Identity Disorder (GID).

The Appelate court disagreed with the Seremban High Court findings that the Syariah law was reasonable in order to protect society from homosexuality, which would lead to the spread of HIV.

Othman said the programmes for transgenders were tailored to strengthen them spiritually.

“Through this programme, we have reached over 1,000 people through the mukhayam (camping) which emphasises on self-strengthening, spirituality and rehabilitation.

“However, we never force any party to participate but we go to the ground and also promote via social media to encourage them to participate. Based on this promotion, they volunteer themselves to join the programme,” said Othman.

According to Jakim, the programmes have made an impact on the target group as it helped raised awareness on HIV, reduced stigma and strengthened their careers.

For more information, contact the Jakim’s Division of Family, Social and Community at 03-88864000.

Related article: Negri Sembilan to appeal decision ruling cross-dressing Syariah law unconstitutional

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