Malaysia: Transgender’s appointment to ministry panel not unprecedented or endorsement of LGBT

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Rania Zara Medina is not the first transgender appointed to the Health Ministry’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) committee, Malaysia Public Health Experts Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar explained today.

He said representatives of affected communities have been named to the committee at various points since the Health Ministry first formed the CCM in 2009 with the Cabinet’s mandate, which also made the country a recipient of the Global Fund allocations disbursed to the Malaysia AIDS Council.

Dr Zainal also stressed that such representation was meant to give the stakeholder communities a direct say in health matters concerning them and not an endorsement of their activities.

“The appointment of seven individuals from the categories such as men who have sex with men, transgenders, female sex workers, drug users, and people living with HIV, does not mean the government or the ministry recognises their culture or lifestyle,” Dr Zainal said in a statement.

He said the association upholds the universal principle of complete non-discrimination in the planning and implementation of universal public health programmes on a national or local level.

Dr Zainal added that the underlying objective must be to make such health efforts inclusive and accessible to those in need.

“CCM representatives often rotate every term based on set procedures, and they include representatives from agencies such as the Health Ministry, the Islamic Development Department, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Home Ministry, the National Antidrugs Agency, interfaith organisations, among others. Read more via Malay Mail