KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Charged with obstructing a religious officer during a raid on transgenders, Siti Kasim urged Malaysians today to join her in speaking out against unjustified arrests and prosecution.
Released on bail today, the vocal lawyer and social activist reaffirmed her commitment to fight unjust treatment for anyone regardless of gender, race and religion.
“I will always defend the rights of Malaysians from unjust treatments. If you believe that all of us, no matter what gender, race or beliefs should be protected under our law, not to be prosecuted and arrested without lawful justification, then stand with me,” she said in a statement read out by her counsel Roger Chan, outside the Magistrate’s Court here.
“I believe if we protect one, we will empower thousands.
“We must never allow anyone or anybody to flex their muscle just because they think they can . Our country has a Federal Constitution that protects our rights. It is my belief that public officers exist to perform duties for the good of society, and even more so, obligated to abide by rules and procedures of conduct.
“A private dinner being raided by religious authorities cannot be exempted from this. No one is above the law,” her statement read.
Siti is charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code with obstructing an officer from the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi), Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali, from discharging her duty during a religious raid at the Renaissance Hotel here on April 3 last year.
Siti claimed that she had been arrested by the officers despite identifying herself as a lawyer and a guest at the private dinner party for trans women.
If found guilty, she can be jailed up to two years, fined a maximum of RM10,000, or both.
Earlier today, Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahab released Siti on a bail of RM3,000 in one surety and ordered the latter to show up in court for her case mention dates.
Met later after posting her bail, Siti said she will be continuing her lawsuit against Jawi, and that she has already obtained the names of the officers involved in the raid.
“I will not be intimidated. I will continue with what I have been doing, not just for the LGBT community, but everybody.
“This is pure intimidation. I filed a civil suit against them, and suddenly, one year later, they are charging me in court for this,” she told reporters.
In a Facebook posting on June 13, Siti said she learnt about the charge after receiving a phone call from a police officer, just hours after the High Court had ordered Jawi to release the details of officers involved during the raid, in a hearing related to Siti’s planned civil suit against Jawi regarding her arrest.
Siti Kasim had sought a court order compelling Jawi to name the officers who conducted the raid, for the purposes of her civil suit against the department.