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28 Jul 2008

Malaysian transvestites appeal one-week jail sentence

Four transvestites arrested in a raid at a beauty pageant held in a Kelantan resort have appealed a one-week jail sentence imposed by a Syariah (Islamic) court for "dressing as women."

The four were among the 16 Muslim men arrested by the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department in a raid during a beauty pageant held at a resort in the northern state of Kelantan in Malaysia, according to media reports.

Some of the contestants who were arrested. Photo was published by the the New Straits Times newspaper.
Mohamad Abdul Aziz Mohamad Noor, the religious department chief, was quoted as saying that the four transvestites were sentenced to seven days jail and fined 1,000 ringgit (US$310) after being found guilty by the Islamic Syariah court for wearing female outfits. They are currently on bail.

The official revealed that one transvestite was released because "he wore a Malay traditional outfit" while the other 11 who were wearing evening gowns will be charged on Aug 24. The 11 are currently on bail.

The New Straits Times newspaper reported that most of contestants were teachers and bank employees.

It was reported that another group of 50 transvestites who were preparing to join the "Miss Universe Asia 2008" contest managed to escape arrest - several of whom dived into a nearby river. About 300 people were at the hotel to watch the event.

Abdul Aziz said it was the first time that authorities had made such a mass arrest in the state.

He said the "immoral" activities of the transsexuals, including dressing up and acting like women, were contradictory to Islamic practices.

Kelantan has been ruled by the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) since 1990 and is considered the most conservative state in Malaysia. Town council officials recently attracted criticism after banning women from wearing bright lipstick and high-heeled shoes so as to prevent immoral activities or rape. It also called for stricter enforcement of laws on separate male and female queues in shops.

While Malaysia has both Islamic and secular courts, the Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over Muslims, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27.5 million people.


Reader's Comments

1. 2008-07-28 20:42  
What can I say, I feel so lucky that i am not living in Malaysia. Can you imagine if the police do this at the Drag contest in Sydney at Stonewall or in any bars in Thailand! I feel so sorry for those who got arrested. Look at the bright side of it, I wonder if there is a youtube clip of the Miss Universe contestents diving into the river with their costumes and make up to escape. It will make a great movie!
2. 2008-07-28 21:37  
They ought to change their religion... but ok, in Msia you probably don't have that freedom either...

3. 2008-07-28 22:06  
Ahh. You gotta just shake your head when religious fanatics get control of the government.
4. 2008-07-28 22:32  
OMG.. can't imagine how the Miss Universe look like in their dress after 1 week in jail. So next time wear more traditional outfit to avoid arrested... WTF is that! Double standard...
5. 2008-07-28 22:50  
this is just horrendous. I love Malaysia, but they're embarrassing themselves!
6. 2008-07-28 23:08  
I saw this news on The Star a while ago..
I thought it was ridiculous.
Kelantan is a nice and friendly state.
It's hard to imagine how they can ban all sorts of stuff in Kelantan first cock fights... then muay thai... now Drag queens?!
7. 2008-07-28 23:53  
cannot understand the GLBT still vote PAS to be government ??
8. 2008-07-29 00:14  
ok, ok... being malaysian, let me clarify some things before any ideas get out of hand. First of all, its not confirm who GLBT votes for to be government because either way, both ruling party nor PAS would be no benefit to their welfare. Secondly, ever since Kelantan has come under the control of PAS, many traditional games and art were banned if they were found contrary to Islamic values.

This includes men dressing up as women. It is not something new as it is practised in all countries where shariah law is the prime laws of the state. Thirdly, the police did not do the arrest. The State Religious Affairs department did the arrest under Islamic Law which is practised in the state of Kelantan.

The arrest only applies to Muslims because it contravenes Islamic laws but does not affect non-Muslims as I dun think there is a civil law banning men from dressing as women.
9. 2008-07-29 02:39  
Teachers? Whoa, wish I had a transvestite teacher! hehe

Well, probably wasn't the most brilliant idea to have it in Kelantan. KL, yes, Kelantan, hell no! Doesn't mean I don't condone the authorities for their ongoing 'moral policing' but it's a known fact Kelantan is as religious a state as an Arabic country

Hope they'll bail out soon!
10. 2008-07-29 02:46  
Arom sia!!! They are look so pity!!! move to Thailand lah.. we all welcome your's....
kindly thai's in KUL..
11. 2008-07-29 04:37  
My name is Antonio Piedrahita,I'm from Pereira,Colombia and had the chance to visit Malaysia for 6 weeks on May,2004
Malaysia and Malaysians as wonderfull,and the greatest of all it is their multicultural,multiethnic,and multireligius envirmoent.I was ameze to see how a muslim mosque and a hindu shrine where face to face,and at on the cornes and budist temple.
This to all of you Malaysians; MALAYSIA IS THE TRUE ASIA!!!!! not another muslim domain.
12. 2008-07-29 05:27  
Huh. And here I thought religious practice was an individual choice, not something to be enforced on by the goverment.
Stupid is what I say.
I'm just glad I don't live there.
Just let the people who is happy with PAS live there in their religious fanaticsm while everybody moves out. Let their overzealousness crash on them.
13. 2008-07-29 05:51  
Post #2 terrificturk says (Posted : 28 July 2008 21:37) :

They ought to change their religion... but ok, in Msia you probably don't have that freedom either...

Your intuition is right, terrificturk. As I understand it, all ethnic Malaysians are deemed to be Muslim by birth, and renouncing the faith is illegal. Only the non-Malaysians (mostly ethnic Chinese) have religious freedom.

Things may be slowly changing, though, as this article discusses:

14. 2008-07-29 08:23  
hola amigo!
thanks for your kind compliment on our heritage and culture....however what you see if just the surface of disguise....
yes, some places you do see different religious workship places built together in one area, and this is often being bragged about.
now, these days, to build a worship place, is very tough, then this restriction is not limited to mosque but temples and churches. this is discrimination and this is an issue here is malaysia!
malaysia truly asia,!? as rosy as it sounds, the nation itself is rotting.
so much stuff is going on right now, and nothing is good, really.
such a beautiful country, but with so many idiots managing it, sad!
15. 2008-07-29 09:06  
16. 2008-07-29 10:15  
I feel sad to those who criticize malaysia. I feel that those poeple have shallow thinking and their EQ is super low. Every country have its laws and rules. Every residents should know what they can do and what they don't. I think for Singaporean, you also don't wish your country full of transvesties walking on Orchard and do you think your Lee family will allow this to happen? I feel sad for Singapore's ajs. They sound so unclose from the closet, yet they are so scare their goverment, their army to know they are gay but yet their wearing, their action in the fitness center, at Orchard are so obvious that they are gay. Please feel ashamed to yourselves before judging other country and also don't make gay community to get ashamed again with all ur comments here.
17. 2008-07-29 10:17  

I feel pity for the girls and those who are lucky for wearing the man's outfit... better play it safe right?? hahah :D. Sorry that I laugh... this is just so silly! :P
18. 2008-07-29 10:42  
chubsterboy (Posted : 29 July 2008 5:51) wrote: "Your intuition is right, terrificturk. As I understand it, all ethnic Malaysians are deemed to be Muslim by birth, and renouncing the faith is illegal. Only the non-Malaysians (mostly ethnic Chinese) have religious freedom."

Surely you mean Malays (ethinicity) and not Malaysians (nationality).
19. 2008-07-29 11:11  
Oh dear...just when the 'gurls' wanna have fun!!!

I hope that in future, the event could be held at a place or country where it is more acceptable. A place where those 'gurls' could let their hair down without worrying of raids or sorts..

Better luck next time, gurls! I pity you all darlinkzz!!
20. 2008-07-29 11:23  
I dont understand what its mean " im lucky im not malaysian" sound like stupid!
21. 2008-07-29 12:27  
anyway, this is not so bad. at most they are fines and served a short jail sentence. In other countries with more extreme policies, they could have been sentenced to death.

Nevertheless, this will not stop our darling divas from donning on another dress anytime soon... you'll see.

Also, chubsterboy... the Malaysian Constitution denotes that all "MALAYS" are deemed as Muslims automatically. This does not apply to other races like Indians or Chinese. However, if a Chinese converts to Islam, he cannot convert out to another religion. That's apostasy.I just need to clarify the difference between race, religion and nationality because I think you confused the terms in your statement. I hope you dun take offence.
22. 2008-07-29 12:39  
poor those girls had to swim in their shimmering frocks to save themselves..i think malaysian law is stupid as always. No respect for human rights.
23. 2008-07-29 12:57  
hey hey, first of all, being a malaysian chinese, i have to say i'm so lucky that i had run away from Malaysia and come to Australia. Well, most of the people from Malaysia,mostly Chinese(or other races) able to see the "fairness" between Malay and Chinese,Indian...etc. I can't stand this anymore, thats why i chose to fly away. AUstralia have much better law system which include anti-discrimination law, this make all of us at least feel safe and secure. Malaysia, to be honest, is wonderful for travel, but for living, hell no !!!
24. 2008-07-29 15:21  
Not everybody is as lucky as us who can live in a well accepted gay country. I felt sad (almost cry), reading the news. Being a transvestite is hard enuff to cover the double identity. Just that when they think that they can live the dreams of walking beautifully in pretty gowns and dresses and for once felt like they're recognize, the islamic party had to comes in and shattered their dreams. Well i'll pary for all of them to be safe, safe from the authorities humiliations and tortures in the cell. Amen... :'(
25. 2008-07-29 15:49  
To the person who said that a "short jail sentence" isn't so bad compared to death, I urge you to think about what may happen to them in jail...
26. 2008-07-29 16:24  
Good and bad. It comes with a package. This is definately invading the freedom of human rights. How do you feel if a person tells you what should you wear and what you should not? But they should know what should do and what should not being a malaysian.

May god bless them when they are in the jail. Fight comes with pain.
Comment #27 was deleted by its author
28. 2008-07-29 16:48  
in as much as we can reconstruct, deconstruct the issue concerning things of this nature it seemed that the participants took the risks and got caught. for the sake of argument, yes, the participants had a choice and they knew the risk, however, testing the limits they did in a Malaysian state that restricts Islamic behavior, how can we be surprised or criticize their mainly unfair and unjustified infringements on free agency. You will never see KL or any Muslim countrybe the next sunny gay vacation spot. At least their not being hanged like in Iran or Saudi Arabia or even bashed in Jamaica or Fiji. It can even happen in any place. We must be careful and be aware of what are the consequences when we want to be campy.
29. 2008-07-29 17:42  
30. 2008-07-29 17:44  
a damn country that ruled by brainless malays cause havoc to the other religions..so dumb shit..however,loook people in other country speak one language and theres only one kind of citizen there..and here in MALAYSIA...its like ROJAK..speaking ROJAK languages with stupid malay pigs..and scums...LAME LAME LAME..damn LAME..i felt so embrassssing being malaysian....God.
31. 2008-07-29 18:15  
What the fuss over, guys wearing women outfit, cannot understand the logic of the whole thing!!! Religion and Human is deffernetly different..never mixed them or Politics together. Are these people ( A God ) If they are Human as well their shit sting too!!. Guys we like happy people where I am, It's called The Lucky Country. You guys welcome any time. Having fun is not an offend here. People who judge other Human's are. Bring your plans over here and orgernize it...find a way. Good luck guys.
32. 2008-07-29 18:39  
It's not Malaysia that's dumb you arse. It's that specific political party - PAS. It is the only political party that goes to such extremes. The other political parties do understand the need for Syariah law for Muslims but also understand that religion is not really a government's decision but is between each person and their god. So please understand that this event does not represent Malaysia or the Malays. It just represents how dumb arsed PAS is. So open your goddamn eyes and read between the lines. Everything is not in black and white. And dude, if you're embarassed to be a Malaysian, get your damn citizenship somewhere else because I'm sure Malaysia is embarassed to have you as a citizen as well.
33. 2008-07-29 18:41  
And btw winterflyboy, don't complain about Malaysians speaking rojak because your English is pretty shit too anyway. Pot calling the damn kettle black.
34. 2008-07-29 18:50  
why malaysia like that
it really rubbish and it dosen respak people at all..

Comment #35 was deleted by its author
36. 2008-07-29 19:16  
Sorry to be totally off topic, it's difficult to find out from the net what's going on in the India 377 hearings and Fridae haven't been updating us, but apparently a Bombay judge has called for reform in a different case, and the Delhi constitutional hearings have run into a procedural difficulty as the judges who have part heard the case have only been rostered to sit together once a week. The applicants have therefore made an application to have it brought before different judges. There is a blog entry here for those interested:


at the following page:
37. 2008-07-29 19:32  
AIyah.I'm a transman myself.It's just one of the islamic teachings.In Iran,they actually encourage you to go for sex change to avoid you from being in the , 'middle'. Dat s a different teaching so can t be blamed.
38. 2008-07-29 20:40  
Is "male" and "female" clothing open to interpretation?

Don't some Malay tribal men wear "skirts"? David Beckham sometimes wears a "skirt". Are women allowed to wear trouser suits, or is this considered "male" clothing ?

As for Malaysia, it's quite a can-do sort of place where people are prepared to stand up for themselves, and believe that things can change.
39. 2008-07-29 20:50  
good grief....of all places they had the pageant in kelantan?!!! don't these pple know!!!! dont the organisers know abt pas!! nex time go further up north ....Thailand!!
40. 2008-07-29 22:39  
well said shanash.. well said! at least you're able to put things into perspective compared to some who straight away condemns an entire country for no apparent reason.
41. 2008-07-30 04:33  
Well, and Mr Mahatir once said there were no gays in Malaysia ... what a bull* ...

Malaysia should finally get its act together and get rid of the two legal systems. If Malaysia wants to become a modern country (and that is what the Malaysian government always tells to everybody), they should finally finish their legal reforms (and they are busy with it, I know that).

But everyone would like to see the results soon!
42. 2008-07-30 10:57  

i sit down n shake my head for u.
43. 2008-07-30 11:34  
The Malaysian government and to a larger degree, the Islamic religion is stupid and narrow minded. Muslims should not be allowed to run countries and should go live in a desert or die if they so badly want to live a 'pure' and 'moral' life.
It is not possible to modernise and live in the dark ages of religion, it's ridiculous.
44. 2008-07-30 12:25  
Its difficult to struggle against those who hold power. In this case, lesson learned.. dont hold such activities in Kelanatan. I still think that there are more free and secure spaces for the community to exist.
45. 2008-07-30 13:40  
Brazer, open your mind. It's not just Muslims that discourage homosexuality. Christianity does too btw. Western politicians also have to find the balance between allowing and discouraging homosexuality in order to win votes. So it depends on which side they believe would win them the votes. Malaysia being mostly Muslims, would obviously mean that politicians would have to win the hearts of the majority. And sadly the majority does consist of many conservative-minded Muslims. Especially Kelantan. Kelantan and Terengannu are the states that are most conservative and the majority of them do prefer to have the state interfere in such matters. And don't be such a dumbass to thrash a whole religion over one incident. Religion is a private matter between god and every individual, no matter what religion. My stand is that the state should stay out of such affairs. But everyone also needs to understand that some Malaysians DO want the government to help enforce religious teachings. However, this has been changing dramatically. But that doesn't mean the government and all the parties can just change overnight. Can you imagine the backlash for such sudden changes?! It takes time and all we can do is hope for things to speed up. Even Western countries took years and years to reach the open mindedness they have now. Malaysia being a much younger country would of course take more time! Geez, some of you really need to use your brains more and think about the big picture while reading between the lines. All you know how to do is just make some general extreme conclusion with hardly any knowledge of anything else. You're just as shitty as any religious extremists because both of you fail to understand the deeper and more intricate details of such matters. So grow up, read more, and start using that damned brain of yours!
46. 2008-07-30 14:23  
Soon there will be EVOLUTION. The gay/lesbian population has been increase tremendously around the world and many people are ready to accept for who they really are. Once we becomes majority, the law will be change which already start to happen in some countries. Just keep it real and be ourselve without taking life for granted, hope for the better future where everyone live in peace :)
47. 2008-07-30 16:43  
I'm sorry xfiles2002sg but you are seriously mistaken; there is no increase in gay people, just an increase in visibility as more people refuse to hide who they are, and as other people are more understanding of them. We will always be a small minority, but it will ultimately be a minor thing like being left-handed or having ginger hair.
Comment #48 was deleted by its author
49. 2008-07-30 20:07  
evening, im sure the gay population in malaysia, and any part of the world for that matter, increases over time ... people come to terms of who they are and who they decide to be "out" to ... by choice ... at any rate, coming out is no longer relevant in this time and age ... maybe in the 70s and 80s ... but now ... you are only answerable to yourself! ... you want be as gay as you want ? then be as gay as you possibly can ... if you dont subscribe to the norms, then fine ... its your life ... no one makes that decision for you ... dont let anyone push you into doing anything just because they are doing it ... over and out! kenny
Comment #50 was deleted by its author
51. 2008-07-31 09:16  
Shanash & Navasak.. Sad to say you are drowned by all the many stupid comments given by those who obviously have their brains in other parts of the body instead of their heads. Do they know their countries in the first place? Do you Malaysians who gave stupid comments know you country? Read more people, life isn't about "we eat, we shit and we die".
52. 2008-07-31 09:22  
Isn't it true that Malays enjoy much greater privileges in life than Chinese or Indian Malaysians eg quotas to universities, job opportunities, etc etc.

Many of my Chinese Malaysian friends have fled the country to find human equality elsewhere. Sad isn't it...
53. 2008-07-31 21:54  
Yes, Malays do enjoy many more privileges than non-Malays. This is because Malays are considered bumiputras, which basically means Malays are the natives of the land. With this issue, there are two sides to it. It's like the chicken or the egg sort of dilemma. Firstly, these extra benefits are supposedly intended to ensure that the natives are not neglected. It's sort of like the subsidies given to aboriginals in Australia, casino rights to American Indians. Stuff like that. Even out the playing field to give the natives a fighting chance. However, I'm not too sure which is the actual case: 1. These extra benefits cause many Malays to put in less of an effort and become lazy, or 2. many Malays are not business-minded and the extra benefits are there to encourage Malays. It's hard to tell which it is. But Jonquil, you are right. Many non-Malays are very annoyed with this situation. And from my point of view, I think Malays should have SOME extra benefits but currently, there are too many benefits for their own good.
54. 2008-08-01 01:21  
Sick islamic authorities..
55. 2008-08-01 15:59  
It must really suck having to live in an islamic country.
56. 2008-08-02 04:23  
... and last but not least, malaysia is a ... great country, great people, excellent food, so so weather ... ... but, sadly run by arrogant, insensitive, rude, morally-superior ... well the list goes on ... lets hope the rights and freedom of minorities (especially non-muslim, non-malay and glbt) are not eroded too much ... too soon ...

... though, some of you here might feel right at home in malaysia ...
57. 2008-08-08 08:14  
God!! it's not fair! They should be able to do whatever they want as long as not causing others problem and bad feeling. Life is too short come on! ;)
58. 2008-10-01 03:08  
That's really really bad, religion should not be involved of being free mind, unfair law

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