[2015] 1 SHR 6

MUHAMAD JUZAILI MOHD KHAMIS & ORS v. STATE GOVERNMENT OF NEGERI SEMBILAN & ORS
COURT OF APPEAL, PUTRAJAYA
HISHAMUDIN MOHD YUNUS JCA, AZIAH ALI JCA, LIM YEE LAN JCA
[CIVIL APPEAL NO: N-01-498-11-2012]
2 JANUARY 2015

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: Judicial review - Application for - Application for declaration that s. 66 Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 is void for prescribing cross-dressing in public as offence for Muslim men - Whether Muslim men suffering from Gender Identity Disorder excluded from being convicted for offence under s. 66 - Whether s. 66 constitutional - Whether consistent with Part II of Federal Constitution - Federal Constitution, arts. 4(1), 5(1), 8(1), (2), 9(2) & 10(1)(a)

CIVIL PROCEDURE: Judicial review - Validity of law - State Legislature prescribes cross-dressing in public as offence for Muslim men under s. 66 Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 - Whether s. 66 makes exception for Muslim men suffering from Gender Identity Disorder - Whether s. 66 constitutional - Whether s. 66 consistent with principles of fundamental liberties under arts. 5(1), 8(1), (2), 9(2) & 10(1)(a) Federal Constitution

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Fundamental liberties - Deprivation - Right to life, movement, expression and equal protection under law - Conviction of Muslim men who expressed themselves as women in public - Offence under s. 66 Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 - Whether Muslim men suffering from Gender Identity Disorder rightfully convicted under s. 66 - Whether s. 66 recognises Gender Identity Disorder - Whether s. 66 in breach of fundamental liberties under Part II of Federal Constitution - Federal Constitution, arts. 5(1), 8(1), (2), 9(2) & 10(1)(a)

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Federal and State law - Conflict - Matters of Islamic law - Section 66 Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 prescribes cross-dressing in public as offence for Muslim men - Whether consistent with fundamental rights under arts. 5(1), 8(1), (2), 9(2) & 10(1)(a) Federal Constitution - Supremacy of Federal Constitution - Federal Constitution, arts. 4(1) & 74(3)

ISLAMIC LAW: Syariah offences - Cross-dressing in public - Offence of Muslim men dressed in women's attire and posing as women in public - Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992, s. 66 - Whether s. 66 should apply to Muslim men who suffer from Gender Identity Disorder - Whether s. 66 discriminates against Muslim men suffering from Gender Identity Disorder - Constitutionality of s. 66 - Whether consistent with fundamental rights under arts. 5(1), 8(1), (2), 9(2) & 10(1)(a) Federal Constitution

The appellants were Muslim men who expressed themselves as women by wearing feminine clothes and applying makeup and had been diagnosed with a medical condition known as Gender Identity Disorder (`GID'). Even though the medical condition suffered by the appellants was confirmed by a psychiatrist and a psychologist, s. 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 (`the Enactment') does not recognise GID and prescribes it as an offence for any male Muslim person to wear a woman's attire or to pose as a woman. Those convicted for the offence are liable to a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both. Pursuant to this provision, the appellants had been repeatedly detained, arrested and prosecuted by the religious authority of Negeri Sembilan. This prompted the appellants to apply for a judicial review in the High Court for a declaration that s. 66 of the Enactment is void as it is inconsistent with arts. 5(1), 8(1) and (2), 9(2) and 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution (`the Constitution'). The application was dismissed by the High Court and hence, the present appeal. In support of their notion that

s. 66 of the Enactment is inconsistent with the abovementioned articles of the Constitution, the appellants brought forth the submissions that the said section (i) caused the appellants, along with other GID sufferers, to be perpetually at risk of arrest and prosecution and directly affected the appellants' right to live with dignity, as guaranteed by art. 5(1) of the Constitution; (ii) is discriminatory, oppressive and denies the appellants from the equal protection of the law, and inconsistent with art. 8(1) of the Constitution; (iii) is discriminatory of gender, and inconsistent with art. 8(2) of the Constitution, as s. 66 of the Enactment only prohibits male Muslims from cross-dressing or posing as a woman in public whereas there is no such prohibition against female Muslims from cross-dressing or posing as a man in public; (iv) denies the appellants and other male Muslim sufferers of GID of their right to freedom of movement as enshrined under art. 9(2) of the Constitution; and (v) directly affects the appellants' right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by art. 10(1)(a) of the Constitution, in that they are prohibited from expressing themselves by wearing the attire and articles of clothing of their choice. The respondents argued that s. 66 of the Enactment was not prejudicial to the appellants as they were persons of unsound mind and were entitled to the defence accorded by s. 11 of the Enactment.

Held (allowing appeal; granting application for judicial review)

Per Hishamudin Mohd Yunus JCA delivering the judgment of the court:

(1) Section 66 of the Enactment is inconsistent with art. 5(1) of the Constitution as it deprives the appellants of their right to live with dignity. Section 66 is irreconcilable with the existence of the appellants and all other GID sufferers. A law that punishes the gender expression of transsexuals degrades and devalues persons with GID in our society. Furthermore, `life' in art. 5(1) means more than mere animal existence; it also includes such rights as livelihood and the quality of life. The effect of s. 66 is that it prohibits the appellants and other GID sufferers who cross-dress from moving in public places to reach their respective workplaces. (paras 44, 46, 48 & 50)

(2) The State and s. 66 of the Enactment simply ignored GID sufferers such as the appellants and unfairly subject them to the enforcement of law. The appellants should not be treated similarly as normal Muslims yet s. 66 provides for equal treatment and does not provide for any exception for sufferers of GID. The inclusion of persons suffering from GID under
s. 66 discriminates against them and is therefore inconsistent with art. 8(1) of the Constitution. (para 54)

(3) Section 66 of the Enactment is discriminatory on the ground of gender and therefore, violates art. 8(2) of the Constitution as it subjects male Muslim persons like the appellants to an unfavourable bias vis-à-vis female Muslim persons. (paras 58
& 59)

(4) Section 66 of the Enactment is explicit in criminalising any Muslim man who wears a woman's attire or poses as a woman in any public place. The section cannot be said to merely restrict the appellants' freedom of movement as the impact is more severe than that. Section 66 denies the appellants and sufferers of GID the right to move freely in public places. In effect, the appellants and other male Muslim sufferers of GID will never be able to leave their homes and move freely in Negeri Sembilan without being exposed to being arrested and punished. As such, s. 66 is inconsistent with
art. 9(2) of the Constitution. (paras 65, 66 & 67)

(5) A person's dress, attire or articles of clothing are a form of expression which is guaranteed under art. 10(1)(a) of the Constitution. The State Legislature of Negeri Sembilan has no power to restrict freedom of speech and expression. Section 66, a State law that criminalises any male Muslim who wears a woman's attire or who poses as a woman in public, directly affected the appellants' right to freedom of expression in that they are prohibited from expressing themselves. Hence, the restriction imposed on the appellants and other GID sufferers was unreasonable. (paras 73, 75 & 76)

(6) In the absence of medical evidence, it is absurd and insulting to suggest that the appellants and other transgender persons are persons of unsound mind. (para 93)

(7) Article 4(1) of the Constitution declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. Reading arts. 74(3) and 4(1) together, it is clear that all State laws, including Islamic laws passed by State Legislatures, must be consistent with Part II of the Constitution which guarantees the fundamental liberties of all Malaysians. Therefore, s. 66 of the Enactment is invalid as being unconstitutional. It is inconsistent with arts. 5(1), 8(1) and (2), 9(2) and 10(1)(a) of the Constitution. (paras 32, 34 & 94)

Bahasa Malaysia Translation Of Headnotes

Perayu-perayu merupakan lelaki-lelaki Muslim yang mengekspresikan diri mereka sebagai wanita dengan memakai pakaian wanita dan alat solek serta telah didiagnos dengan keadaan perubatan yang dikenali sebagai Gender Identity Disorder (`GID'). Walaupun keadaan perubatan yang dialami oleh perayu-perayu telah disahkan oleh pakar psikiatri dan pakar psikologi, s. 66 Enakmen Jenayah Syariah Negeri Sembilan 1992 (`Enakmen') tidak mengiktiraf GID dan menetapkan ia sebagai satu kesalahan bagi mana-mana lelaki Muslim yang memakai pakaian wanita atau berlagak seperti wanita. Sesiapa yang disabitkan atas kesalahan boleh dikenakan denda tidak melebihi RM1,000 atau dipenjarakan bagi tempoh tidak melebihi enam bulan atau kedua-duanya. Berikutan peruntukan ini, perayu-perayu berulang kali ditahan, ditangkap dan didakwa oleh pihak berkuasa agama Negeri Sembilan. Ini mendorong perayu-perayu untuk memohon semakan kehakiman di Mahkamah Tinggi bagi satu pengisytiharan bahawa s. 66 Enakman adalah tidak sah kerana ia bercanggah dengan per. 5(1), 8(1) dan (2), 9(2) dan 10(1)(a) Perlembagaan Persekutuan (`Perlembagaan'). Permohonan ini ditolak oleh Mahkamah Tinggi dan oleh itu, rayuan ini. Sebagai menyokong tanggapan mereka bahawa s. 66 Enakmen bercanggah dengan perkara-perkara Perlembagaan yang telah dinyatakan, perayu-perayu mengemukakan hujahan bahawa seksyen tersebut (i) menyebabkan perayu-perayu, bersama-sama dengan mereka yang mengalami GID, sentiasa dalam risiko ditangkap dan didakwa dan memberi kesan langsung kepada hak perayu-perayu untuk hidup bermaruah, seperti yang dijamin oleh per. 5(1) Perlembagaan; (ii) mendiskriminasi, menindas dan menafikan hak perayu-perayu daripada perlindungan undang-undang dan bercanggah dengan
per. 8(1) Perlembagaan; (iii) mendiskriminasikan jantina dan bercanggah dengan per. 8(2) Perlembagaan kerana s. 66 Enakmen hanya melarang lelaki-lelaki Muslim daripada berpakaian atau berlagak seperti wanita di khalayak ramai sedangkan tiada larangan sedemikian terhadap wanita-wanita Muslim daripada berpakaian atau berlagak seperti lelaki di khalayak ramai; (iv) menafikan perayu-perayu dan lain-lain lelaki Muslim yang mengalami GID daripada hak kebebasan mereka untuk bergerak seperti yang termaktub dalam per. 9(2) Perlembagaan; dan (v) memberi kesan langsung kepada hak bersuara, seperti yang dijamin oleh
per. 10(1)(a) Perlembagaan, dalam mana mereka dilarang daripada mengekspresikan diri mereka dengan memakai pakaian dan artikel pakaian pilihan mereka. Responden-responden menghujahkan bahawa s. 66 Enakmen tidak memprejudiskan perayu-perayu kerana mereka tidak sempurna akal dan berhak ke atas pembelaan di bawah s. 11 Enakmen.

Diputuskan (membenarkan rayuan; membenarkan permohonan bagi semakan kehakiman)

Oleh Hishamudin Mohd Yunus HMR menyampaikan penghakiman mahkamah:

(1) Seksyen 66 Enakmen bercanggah dengan per. 5(1) Perlembagaan kerana ia menafikan perayu-perayu akan hak mereka untuk hidup bermaruah. Seksyen 66 tidak serasi dengan kewujudan perayu-perayu dan mereka yang mengalami GID. Undang-undang yang menghukum ekspresi jantina transeksual mempersendakan dan merendahkan individu-individu yang mengalami GID dalam masyarakat. Tambahan lagi, `nyawa' dalam per. 5(1) bermaksud lebih daripada sekadar kewujudan haiwan; ia juga termasuk hak-hak seperti kehidupan dan kualiti hidup. Kesan s. 66 adalah melarang perayu-perayu dan mereka yang mengalami GID yang memakai pakaian wanita daripada bergerak dalam tempat awam untuk tiba di tempat kerja masing-masing.

(2) Negeri dan s. 66 Enakmen mengabaikan mereka yang mengalami GID seperti perayu-perayu dan secara tidak adil menguatkuasakan undang-undang terhadap mereka. Perayu-perayu tidak sepatutnya diberi layanan yang sama seperti Muslim normal tetapi s. 66 memperuntukkan bagi layanan yang sama dan tidak memperuntukkan sebarang pengecualian buat mereka yang mengalami GID. Penyertaan individu-individu yang mengalami GID di bawah s. 66 mendiskriminasikan mereka dan dengan itu, bercanggah dengan per. 8(1) Perlembagaan.

(3) Seksyen 66 Enakmen bersifat diskriminasi atas sebab jantina dan dengan itu, menyebabkan lelaki-lelaki Muslim seperti perayu kepada berat sebelah yang negatif berbanding wanita-wanita Muslim.

(4) Seksyen 66 Enakmen terang-terangan menjadikan ia satu jenayah bagi mana-mana lelaki Muslim yang memakai pakaian wanita atau berlagak seperti wanita di khalayak ramai. Seksyen ini tidak boleh dikatakan sekadar menghalang kebebasan perayu-perayu untuk bergerak kerana impaknya lebih parah daripada itu. Seksyen 66 menafikan perayu-perayu dan mereka yang mengalami GID akan hak untuk bergerak bebas di tempat-tempat awam. Kesannya, perayu-perayu tidak akan dapat meninggalkan rumah mereka dan bergerak dengan bebas di Negeri Sembilan tanpa terdedah kepada ditangkap dan dihukum. Dengan itu, s. 66 bercanggah dengan per. 9(2) Perlembagaan.

(5) Pakaian atau artikel pakaian seseorang adalah bentuk ekspresi yang dijamin di bawah per. 10(1)(a) Perlembagaan. Badan Perundangan Negeri Negeri Sembilan tidak mempunyai
kuasa untuk menyekat kebebasan bercakap dan bersuara. Seksyen 66, undang-undang Negeri yang menjadikan ia satu jenayah bagi mana-mana lelaki Muslim yang memakai pakaian wanita atau berlagak seperti wanita di khalayak ramai, memberi kesan langsung kepada hak kebebasan bersuara perayu dalam mana mereka dilarang daripada mengekspresikan diri mereka. Oleh itu, larangan yang dikenakan terhadap perayu-perayu dan mereka yang mengalami GID adalah tidak munasabah.

(6) Tanpa keterangan perubatan, adalah tidak munasabah dan menghina untuk mencadangkan bahawa perayu-perayu dan individu-individu transgender yang lain adalah individu-individu yang tidak sempurna akal.

(7) Perkara 4(1) Perlembagaan mengisytiharkan bahawa Perlembagaan adalah undang-undang mutlak Persekutuan dan mana-mana undang-undang yang diluluskan bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan adalah, takat mana percanggahan tersebut, tidak sah. Membaca per. 74(3) dan 4(1) bersama-sama, adalah jelas bahawa kesemua undang-undang Negeri, termasuk undang-undang Islam yang diluluskan oleh Badan Perundangan Negeri, mestilah selari dengan Bahagian II Persekutuan yang menjamin kebebasan asasi semua warganegara Malaysia. Oleh itu, s. 66 adalah tidak sah kerana tidak berperlembagaan. Ia bercanggah dengan per. 5(1), 8(1) dan (2), 9(2) dan 10(1)(a) Perlembagaan.

Case(s) referred to:

Che Omar Che Soh v. PP; Wan Jalil Wan Abdul Rahman & Anor v. PP [1988] 1 LNS 150 SC (refd)

Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v. Nordin Salleh & Anor (1) [1992] 2 CLJ 1125 SC (refd)

Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim v. Menteri Dalam Negeri Malaysia [2007] 1 CLJ 19 CA (refd)

Francis Coralie v. Union of India AIR [1981] SC 746 (refd)

Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun & Anor [2007] 5 CLJ 253 FC (refd)

Lee Kwan Woh v. PP [2009] 5 CLJ 631 FC (refd)

Lembaga Tatatertib Perkhidmatan Awam Hospital Besar Pulau Pinang & Anor v. Utra Badi K Perumal [2000] 3 CLJ 224 CA (refd)

Muhammad Hilman Idham & Ors v. Kerajaan Malaysia & Ors [2011] 9 CLJ 50 CA (refd)

Sivarasa Rasiah v. Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor [2010] 3 CLJ 507
FC (refd)

Tan Tek Seng @ Tan Chee Meng v. Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pendidikan & Anor [1996] 2 CLJ 771 CA (refd)

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District 393 US 503 (1969) (refd)

Venkateshwara Theatre v. State of Andra Pradesh and Ors [1993] 3 SCR
616 (refd)

Legislation referred to:

Federal Constitution, arts. 3(1), (4), 4(1), 5(1), 6, 7, 8(1), (2), (5)(a), 9(2), 10(1)(a), (2)(a), 11, 12, 13, 74(2), (3)

Penal Code, s. 84

Syariah Criminal (Negeri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 , ss. 11, 66

Constitution of India [India], arts. 8(1), 14, 15, 19(1)(a), 21

For the appellants - Aston Paiva (Fahri Azzat with him); M/s Kanesalingam & Co

For the respondents - Iskandar Ali Dewa; State Legal Adviser, Negeri Sembilan (Muhammad Fairuz Iskandar, Asst. SLA with him)

Amicus Curiae - Suzana Atan; SFC Syahredzan Johan (Farez Jinnah with him); Bar Council Nizam Bashir; Human Rights Watch

Watching Briefs - PS Ranjan; Malaysian Mental Health Association and Pertubuhan Wanita dan Kesihatan Honey Tan Lay Ean; Malaysian Aids Council, PT Foundation Bhd, Women's Aid Organisation, SIS Forum Bhd-Sisters in Islam, All Women's Action Society, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor New Sin Yew; Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights

[Appeal from High Court, Seremban; Judicial Review No: 13-1-11]

[Editor's note: The State Government of Negeri Sembilan's application for leave to appeal was granted by the Federal Court as of 27 January 2015.]

Reported by Najib Tamby


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