KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Despite having won recognition for her work, transgender activist Nisha Ayub expressed fears today that the police would not take her seriously after she lodged a report over being slashed and beaten up in a purported hate crime last week.
Nisha, who is part of Justice for Sisters (JFS) that had assisted three Muslim transwomen to mount a court challenge against a Negri Sembilan anti-crossdressing law, said she has seen previous cases of violence against transwomen not being taken seriously.
“I just want the police to take this case seriously and to investigate [based] on the evidence given to them,” Nisha told Malay Mail Online.
“I want to be protected by the law because I’m not just a transgender person, but I’m also a citizen of Malaysia. What would have happened if I was dead? Would then only serious investigation be done?
“Most transgender women [do] not make any report when they are attacked or whatever cases [sic]. They feel that nothing will be done because of our identity,” added the transwoman, who was awarded “Hero of the Year” at the Asia LGBT Milestone Awards and received an award for “Extraordinary Activism” by international watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier this year.
Nisha said two men attacked her in Ampang last Thursday morning, with one of them hitting her with a long iron rod and the other hitting her from behind with an unknown weapon.
“I had bruises and slashes,” said Nisha.
Nothing was stolen, according to the transgender activist, indicating that the assault could be a hate crime.
News website Gay Star News reported in February 2012 that at least 13 transsexuals in Malaysia were assaulted in hate crimes in the past six months, but that no arrests were made.
A HRW report released last September documented cases of physical and sexual abuse among Muslim transwomen in Malaysia that were allegedly perpetrated by religious authorities, who were acting under state Shariah laws that prohibit cross-dressing.
The Court of Appeal had in November last year ruled in favour of three Muslim transwomen who were convicted of cross-dressing under the Negri Sembilan Shariah enactment that punishes Muslim men who wear women’s attire with a fine not exceeding RM1,000, or jail of not more than six months, or both.
In its ruling, the appeals court said the provision contravened fundamental liberties, including personal liberty, equality, freedom of movement and freedom of expression.
But the Negri Sembilan state government has now taken the case up to the Federal Court in its bid to overturn the watershed verdict ruling Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 to be unconstitutional and void.