Former deputy minister Hanipa Maidin said he had expected a more gentle solution on the handling of the transgender community in Malaysia from new de facto Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad.
Hanipa (above) said there was “no need” for the transgender community to be harassed, let alone arrested.
“(The law and enforcement agencies such as Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department) Jawi have to be merciful to them. Being a transgender per se should never be despised, let alone one be treated as a criminal.
“Truth be told, I was expecting the minister to come up with a more gentle solution.
“The issue of arresting the transgenders should have never even been mooted in the first place,” Amanah’s Sepang MP said in a statement.
Hanipa, who was de facto deputy law minister under the previous government, said transgenders should instead be protected.
“Transgenders ought to be treated as the weakest segment of our society. They ought to be duly protected,” he said.
This comes as Zulkifli (above), who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, recently gave “full licence” to Jawi officers to carry out enforcement against the transgender community.
Zulkifli said the move was not about just arresting them but rehabilitating members of the community to “return to the right path”.
The move raised objections from the transgender community and rights groups, saying it would only fuel hatred towards the already marginalised community.
Transgender activist Nisha Ayub said this would only put them at risk of harm.
“What happened to our rights based on the Federal Constitution of Malaysia? Rights to personal liberty, equality, expression, movement, religion and so on? Why target us, the minorities? Why?” Nisha had asked.