Mahathir weighs in on gender issues

Mahathir weighs in on gender issues

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, says some people are born uncertain of their gender.

Some look like men but are actually women, and vice versa, he said.

"Their feelings are also different from their looks," he said at a press conference during the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2014 yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, who was asked to comment whether syariah and civil court judges should sit together to hear a cross-dressing case, said it would be great to have such a relationship, but they should also consider the situations mentioned above, and it was up to the government to think about it.

On Friday, the country's Court of Appeal declared that the Negeri Sembilan Islamic religious enactment barring cross-dressing contravened the Federal Constitution.

Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, who led a three-judge panel, delivered the judgment after allowing an appeal by three transgenders who worked as beauticians, setting aside a decision by the High Court in Seremban that had rejected their judicial review application to challenge the syariah law.

On Monday, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan said the state government would file an appeal to the Federal Court in the next few days.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that dressing was a contemporary issue.

"We say certain clothing is men's clothing, but men and women are also wearing jeans," he said.

"Are jeans for men or women? This is a contemporary issue because in the past, it was not a problem because men and women dressed differently. But now, things have changed."

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