Sex-change man cannot be registered as woman: Malaysian court

Saturday, January 8, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR - A high court in Malaysia has dismissed the application of a 35-year-old man, who underwent a sex-change operation more than four years ago, to change the gender status on his MyKad, the national identity card.

The court ruled that it was not ready to declare the applicant a woman “because his new sexual organ, resembling a female’s, was not endowed on him naturally”, New Straits Times reported Saturday.

After Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim made the ruling, the applicant’s counsel, Wong Kah Woh, said that the law did not empower the court to decide such matters.

The applicant’s name was withheld for his security.

“The court held that the National Registration Department (NRD) was right in rejecting the applicant’s application to change information regarding his gender in his MyKad, pending a declaration from the court.

“However, the court ruled that it was not prepared to grant the application because it did not have the power to do so,” said Wong.

The applicant filed his application in the high court in May last year for a declaration to identify himself as a woman in his MyKad after undergoing sex-change surgery in Thailand in 2006.

The NRD director general was named as the respondent.

Wong said he would be appealing to the Court of Appeal within two weeks. The applicant, who is from Malaysian state of Kedah, now lives in Hong Kong, he said.

“My client had sought the court’s declaration because he has been facing problems at immigration checkpoints because of the difference in “her” looks and the information stated on official documents.”

Wong, who is also a legislator, said it was time for the country’s parliament to enact the necessary legislation to give the courts the power to allow such declarations.

Filed under: Immigration, World

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