KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — The Health Ministry will not review trans woman Rania Zara Medina’s appointment on a funding committee, Dzulkefly Ahmad said today amid Muslim conservative outrage.
The health minister said the Justice For Sisters activist’s appointment on a country coordinating mechanism (CCM), which applies for funds from international organisation The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS issues, had followed standard operating procedure (SOP).
“There is no need for a review,” Dzulkefly told reporters in Sungkai, Perak.
“It is a must for the candidate to come from the transgender community. This was a practice from the previous administration,” he added. “So there is no need for any review because it followed the rules.”
Umno and PAS politicians have opposed Rania’s appointment on the CCM, which is chaired by the deputy health minister, saying that it violated Islamic principles.
Wanita Umno chief Noraini Ahmad described the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as a “perverse culture” and claimed they were outlawed under the Penal Code and various Shariah laws.
“Therefore, does this appointment show that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government acknowledges a group that clearly promotes LGBT?” she questioned.
Justice For Sisters stressed that transgender women were part of humanity.
“Understanding about transgender individuals in Malaysia is very negative and not based on facts or on a transgender individual’s lived experience. This issue continues the stigma and discrimination against transgender individuals,” they said.
Malaysia’s CCM started back in 2009 under the Barisan Nasional government. The CCM has always had transgender representatives since then. It comprises non-governmental organisations or faith-based organisations, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men, people living with HIV, and youth under 26.