KUALA TERENGGANU: A medical assistant failed in his application at the High Court yesterday to have his name and gender altered in his identity card.
Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abd Aziz underwent sex-change surgery in Hat Yai, Thailand, in 2009.
In dismissing the application, High court judge Datuk Yazid Mustafa said the court did not have the power to declare a gender change legal, adding that there were no provisions that allowed for a sex change.
Yazid, who took 45 minutes to read the grounds for his decision, also highlighted numerous factors, including the applicant's chromosome count, external and internal organs, as well as his physical and psychological conditions.
"We took into account the testimony of the applicant's mother, who noticed an anomaly in the applicant's sexual organ since young, and that she had accepted her child's feminine tendencies."
Yazid said the purpose of the sex-change procedure was not meant for an individual to change his or her gender but to allow the individual to feel comfortable with his or her body.
"Unless the applicant was listed wrongly by medical staff, the gender attributed to the individual is legitimate."
He also said there were incomplete medical reports from the hospital that conducted the sex-change operation and throughout the proceedings, no doctors had been called to testify.
Yazid said the case presented certain challenges as it was a highly sensitive issue that involved many quarters. The judge took into account the argument by senior federal counsel Aida Adha Abu Bakar that the application should not be allowed as the applicant was not a genuine female.
Aida Adha appeared for the National Registration Department's director-general.
The applicant, Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abd Aziz, 25, who underwent the sex-change surgery in Hat Yai, Thailand, in 2009, was not present in court yesterday.
In May, Ashraf filed for the change in gender status to allow him to replace his name to Aleesha Farhana Abd Aziz. He was represented by counsel Horley Isaacs. Isaacs said it was up to his client to file an appeal.
"While the judge correctly stated that my client was registered as a male at birth, the normal practice in maternity wards when a child is born is they (medical staff) just lift the child to see the sexual organ to register its gender.
"There should have been a more thorough investigation to determine Ashraf's gender as his genitals were not clearly defined, as testified by his mother. If there were uncertainties, doctors should have conducted a DNA test to confirm whether the baby should be registered as male or female." - NST