Jawi officer tells court Google to blame for failure to explain transgender pageant raid

Siti is being charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for allegedly obstructing Siti Nor Jihan, a government officer, from discharging her duty during a religious raid at the Renaissance Hotel on April 3, 2016.
Siti is being charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for allegedly obstructing Siti Nor Jihan, a government officer, from discharging her duty during a religious raid at the Renaissance Hotel on April 3, 2016.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — A senior religious enforcer blamed Google today for her failure to provide the law provision under which lawyer Siti Kasim and the organiser of a transgender beauty pageant were to be detained two years ago.

Siti Norjihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali told a criminal magistrates court that she had tried to seek answers to Siti’s “provocative” questions by turning to search engine Google, only to be left disappointed.

“As far as I remember, I tried to find the section mentioned by the accused, but I couldn’t find the section, because she kept asking so many times: ‘What section? What section?’

“As far as I remember, my Google wasn’t working well,” Siti Nor Jihan said.

She told the court that the operation by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) had only wanted to detain the organiser of the beauty pageant by the name of “Ira Sofia” and the participants, but not Siti.

During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Hafizza Sauni, Siti Nor Jihan said that the raid, which was carried out at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, was in accordance with Section 9 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.

“What we were trying to explain was that with regards to the beauty pageant, clearly, there is a fatwa that has been gazetted, and Section 9 refers to the violation of that fatwa. The offence was for violating the fatwa,” she said, adding that it is ‘“forbidden and sinful” for Muslim to take part in beauty pageants.

She said that it is equally sacrilegious for Muslims to organise or contribute to such events.

During the trial today, Siti Norjihan, who was the deputy operations head during the raid, also accused Siti of trying to delay Ira’s detention, by not cooperating with Jawi officials.

“We explained many times to the accused about the offence and asked for cooperation but until the end, when we wanted to detain the people, we were still provoked.

“We tried to entertain the questions posed by the accused, though the fact was clear that we had the power to detain the organiser of the beauty pageant that night,” she added.

Judge Maizatul Munirah Abd Rahman then adjourned the hearing until tomorrow.

Siti is being charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for allegedly obstructing Siti Nor Jihan, a government officer, from discharging her duty during a religious raid at the Renaissance Hotel on April 3, 2016.

Siti claimed that she had been arrested by the officers despite identifying herself as a lawyer and guest at the private dinner party for trans women.

If found guilty, she can be jailed for up to two years, fined a maximum of RM10,000, or both.

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