KUALA LUMPUR: Enforcement officers of the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) should be commended for having acted professionally during a raid at a transgender community dinner function at a hotel last Sunday.
The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) and the Concerned Lawyers for Justice (CLJ) in a joint statement on Sunday said the religious enforcement authorities were merely attempting to carry out their duties, within the lawful parameters, and as provided for, under the law.
"Having watched the short 3:04-minute video recording of the fracas said to occur following the raid, we must commend the officers of Jawi for having acted very professionally and with dignity in the face of such unwarranted and uncalled for intimidations and harassments by those in attendance of the said event, particularly by the lawyer who was seen to have shouted ferociously and arrogantly against them," the statement said.
The statement was jointly issued by Centhra's chief executive Azril Mohd Amin and CLJ's campaign coordinator Aidil Khalid.
In this regard, Centhra and CLJ would like to remind all practising lawyers that an Advocate and Solicitor is duty bound, even in representing clients and carrying out duties in defense of a suspected offender, to uphold the dignity of the profession at all times.
They must also act with candour, courtesy and fairness, and to refrain from insulting or showing annoying attitudes, as laid down by the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978.
In the statement, Azril and Aidil also said that everyone should understand and appreciate the intricacies of the duties and responsibilities borne by the authorities on matters that were considered to be within the purview of private spheres.
"When there exist credible complaints of wrongdoings, even when such purported wrongdoings are said to be in private spheres, there is duty to forbid such purported wrong-doings from continuing to take place any further.
"While the general principle is that tajassus, that is, spying or peeking through the affairs of people which they have kept hidden is forbidden in Islam, we believe that this is a case falling outside of the rule of tajassus, since it was purportedly committed in a public place, notwithstanding within private event," it said.
They said that while they acknowledge that private sins such as those committed behind closed doors were between God and the sinners only; the State, and in fact the community as a whole, also has a duty and responsibility to enjoin good and forbid evil.
"In which regard, we are reminded by the landmark pronouncement by the Court of Appeal in The Heralds Case declaring the significance of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution, that it imposes positive obligation on the Federation to protect, defend, promote as well as to give effect by appropriate state action, to the injunction of Islam and able to facilitate and encourage people to hold their lives according to the Islamic injunctions, spiritual and daily life," they said.
Centhra and CLJ also called on Malaysians to re-affirm their commitment to allow the necessary enforcement functionaries to carry out their duties without intimidations and harassments.
Some news portal had reported that Jawi raided the transgender community dinner function, dubbed as the 'transgender beauty pageant' on April 3. - Bernama