LETTER | The government of Malaysia should pass legislation to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and further protect the rights of LGBTI persons.
On Dec 13, the Klang Selatan police discovered a transwoman from Sabah unconscious in front of a hotel in Bukit Tinggi. Police rushed her to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital’s intensive care unit, where she died from injuries that day.
According to Klang Selatan police chief Shamsul Amar Ramli, an initial investigation reportedly revealed that the transwoman suffered injuries to the head, swelling all over her body, and a fractured palm as a result of the assault.
A postmortem report revealed she suffered a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain.
Investigations are ongoing and the case has been classified under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, Shamsul added.
The 32-year old is believed to have been the victim of a violent assault.
According to Fortify Rights legal director Eric Paulsen: "The perpetrators of this murder and violence against other trans people must be swiftly brought to justice before further acts of brutality take place.
“Parliament should seriously look into enacting hate crimes legislation so the authorities can take concrete action to protect and promote rights based on race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Malaysian transgender rights group Justice for Sisters documented 12 cases of physical attacks, humiliation, and torture against trans people between 2017 and 2018.
"This horrific attack shows how transgender people are vulnerable to such violence or hate crimes in Malaysia.
"This is the result of continuous negative remarks towards the trans community by certain state officials, politicians, religious bodies or groups and media.
“The government needs to stop such demeaning and fueling of hatred towards the transgender community," said transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub.
Under international law, a hate crime is motivated by prejudice or hostility based on the victim’s membership in a particular group or characteristic, including their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Hate-crime legislation would not only help hold perpetrators of these heinous acts accountable but would also further protect the rights of LGBTI persons in Malaysia, including reducing the climate of hate and intolerance against them.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.