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Meet the lawmakers in Malaysia fighting for trans rights

'Penang leads in this and also leads in observing this fundamental rights for all citizens'

Meet the lawmakers in Malaysia fighting for trans rights
Facebook via Tee Yeh Cheu
Teh Yeeh Cheu (R) in Penang submitting the findings of a report by the official transgender committee

A groups of lawmakers in the Malaysian state of Penang are fighting for trans rights to be officially recognized.

The Democratic Action Party’s Teh Yee Cheu heads the Penang Transgenders Committee. The committee is asking for report findings on trans issues to be submitted as an official paper in the state legislative assembly.

If accepted as an offical document it could lead to government recognition of the trans community.

The report findings and recommendations looked at issues such as; medical care and access, gender neutral public restrooms and police persecution.

Teh first proposed setting up the committee in 2013 and it was formed in the next year. A number of symposiums about trans issues were held in 2016 and throughout this year.

‘It (the report) can serve as a record of what the symposium highlighted on issues faced by transgender,’ Teh told media in Penang.

Being trans in Malaysia

As a mainly Islamic state, it is illegal for Muslims in Malaysia to be trans or to ‘cross-dress’.

The secretary of the Penang Transgenders Committee, Cheah Kah Peng, said it was important for the state assembly to accept the report as an official document.

‘Penang leads in this and also leads in observing this fundamental rights for all citizens,’ Cheah told media.

‘The symposium’s collation of information for the state assembly is precious for human rights in Malaysia.

‘We are trying to push for an understanding, acknowledgement and protection of human rights for a minority group’s interest.

‘Having it presented at the state’s legislature is an important step towards that objective.’


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