Picture from The World Economic Forum
KRYSS Network strongly condemns the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (JAIS) attempts to intimidate and persecute Nur Sajat, a transwoman who is also a cosmetics entrepreneur.
The news of JAIS’s deployment of 122 personnel to pursue a nationwide search of Nur Sajat appears to be an excessive exercise and can be perceived as disproportionate to her alleged wrongdoing, for which the harm done remains unclear and yet to be determined according to the rule of law.
The landmark decision by the Federal Court on 25 February 2021 declaring a law used to criminalize same-sex activity in the state of Selangor to be unconstitutional indicates the importance of ensuring that no person is criminalized under two different systems of law. This judgment, therefore, implies how important it is for us to protect the right of equality before the law, and by an extension of that, equal access to justice.
However, being a trans woman, access to justice has always been difficult to secure, forcing trans women to resign themselves to a situation of hopelessness with no other option other than to submit to harassment, intimidation, sexual molestation, and other forms of abuses, including repeated arrests for the same criminal charge under sharia laws. Nur Sajat appears to be facing the very same obstacles of access to justice but is now effectively amplified by JAIS at a national level.
The rights of Nur Sajat cannot be denied under the Federal Constitution, which includes her freedom of expression, and her liberty of a person, which must be upheld if justice in this country is to be truly served without fear or favor.