Jawi officer blames Siti Kasim for ‘failed’ raid on transgenders

Siti Kasim (centre) arrives at the Magistrates’ Court in Kuala Lumpur July 27, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Siti Kasim (centre) arrives at the Magistrates’ Court in Kuala Lumpur July 27, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — A religious officer accused lawyer Siti Kasim today in court of disrupting a raid on a so-called “beauty pageant” involving trans women.

Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) officer Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @Md Ghazali claimed that Siti had allegedly blocked Jawi officers from checking the identity cards of those present at the 2016 event.

The Jawi enforcement officer claimed that the department arrested Siti “because she blocked religious enforcement officers, not because she is a lawyer”.

“Even if someone is a lawyer, when religious enforcement officers want to do any inspections, cooperation should be given to any religious enforcement officers.

“But the accused (Siti) obstructed the inspection that the religious enforcement officers wanted to do, causing us to arrest her to be handed over to the police,” Siti Nor Jihan told the Magistrates’ Court here.

Siti Nor Jihan is the fifth prosecution witness in today’s hearing at Siti’s trial for allegedly obstructing her as a public officer during a transgender “beauty pageant” raid conducted by Jawi on April 3, 2016.

The offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code is punishable by two years in prison, a RM10,000 fine, or both upon conviction.

During today’s hearing, Siti Nor Jihan also said Jawi officers went to a hotel to inspect preliminary information of the purported “beauty pageant” event.

She insisted that a hotel “is not a private premise”, claiming that this was because anyone could enter a hotel. She had last week admitted that Jawi needs a search warrant to enter private premises.

Siti Nor Jihan said she had asked a person at the event to produce their identification card in order to determine their gender and whether they were Muslim, adding that she was blocked by Siti who said she lacked the right to do such an inspection.

Siti Nor Jihan last week admitted that she did not show her authorisation card before asking the attendees for their identification cards.

Siti Nor Jihan today denied Jawi had mistreated Siti, adding that the religious enforcement officers had tried their best to answer the questions posed by Siti whom she claimed had been provocative.

“The accused herself had caused provocation to Jawi which made Jawi fail in the inspection.

“The accused’s many provocative questions towards Jawi’s religious enforcement officers caused the inspection to fail,” she said.

During a previous hearing in May, Siti Nor Jihan said she had tried to seek answers to Siti’s “provocative” questions by turning to Google, but was left disappointed as the search engine allegedly was not working well.

Siti Nor Jihan was re-examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor Hafizza Sauni and completed her testimony today.

Hafizza said the prosecution will be calling in two more witnesses, with the next witness expected to be Jawi’s head of operations.

Magistrate Maizatul Munirah Abdul Rahman fixed September 6, September 27, October 8, October 9 and October 19 as the next trial dates.

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