1af45932290adf4e3b8b160ec97db090We know we have provided them over and over again with a stack of concrete arguments to restore our rule of law and constitutionalism in this very modern multi-religious and racial nation, but to no avail. Why?

Just take Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq as a backdrop, deep down by exercising my utm
ost sense of bona fide, those religious hooligans understand what they are doing somehow inhumane, perhaps, why some of them returned home.

Their arrogance to impose their filthy misapprehension and assert their self-righteousness on religion and politics on other people who dissent. Very ironic, as a religious body in this country which is funded, they said, “to combat terrorism”, but rather they imitate the characters and modus operandi of terrorists, believing in the same ideology and system except that they don’t drive tanks to raid.

Recently, the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) had deployed a number of officers to crack down on a private fundraising event organised by a transgender community.

As a result, the hostess responsible for the event would likely be charged under Section 9 and 35 of the Sharia Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 for ‘encouraging vice by defying religious authorities’.

Now, many lawyers have already discussed on the non-compliance of the standard operating procedure (SOP) with regard to the raid and arrest. But I want to contest on the principle of criminality contained in the said provisions.

It is not easy to criminalise something, especially in a ‘victimless crime’ like being transgender and not paying alms. A common view among liberal legal theorist famously set out in John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’, with which I agree, is that criminalisation should be restricted to that subset of immoral conduct that causes inherent harm to others.

First, vague definition of vice per se degrades the vantage of such law to criminalise. Second, no one can clearly prove whether I have encouraged people to commit an ‘act of vice’ as from a direct consequence of my conduct or perishable faith of others.

Third, does it really give harm to others? Although, in this particular case the event was held in a private place with no passive or active intention to force people to embrace transgenderism or transvestism.

Therefore, a lacuna of principle of criminality in most of Islamic Criminal Acts and Enactments renders it to be irrelevant and objectiveless.

Instead, to use this against Jawi they are a disgrace to the religion for being coercive and threatening the whole time by halting a charity event of the noble hearts. Moreover, I will not be surprised that what they did has encouraged other extremist Muslims to give death threats and dreadful comments, for instance on social media, in bullying the innocents. Very vicious indeed!

Choosing their own jurisdiction

Thus, liberal Malaysian Muslims should be able to choose their own jurisdiction to untangle their physical selves from Sharia handcuffs. After all these arbitrary persecution and prosecution to ‘protect’ the religion, I see it is more on protecting their own position and agenda with such a broad power.

Nevertheless, I do not say civil law in this country is progressive enough, but with the limited choice that we have and ambiguity of status quo to abolish the dual-system, I think that’s good enough. That’s even fairer considering the conservative Muslims still want to subject themselves to Sharia law and some don’t.

The government should be proud of Malaysians who fight for freedoms to emancipate Malaysia from religious radicalisation. On one hand, it shows the success of our education system and they are still bunch of people concerned to contribute for this country.

For what it’s worth, Malay Muslim can still be loyal to the country even he or she is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) person, does not wear hijab or go to Friday prayers.

What the government should realise is that terrorism is born from radicalism that promotes hate and violence, which most of the terrorist imitators and sympathisers are using to hide behind the veil of religion.


By a human rights defender and allied to a faith-based and youth-led Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) Malaysia.