Friday, April 4, 2014
IT IS illegal for males to exhibit effeminate behaviour under the soon-to-be enforced Syariah Penal Code Order, said a deputy Syariah prosecutor yesterday.
At a briefing on the new law at the Civil Service Institute (IPA), Farizan Hj Judin said that any man, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, posing as a woman or vice versa can be punished for committing a criminal offence under Section 198.“If you know of any effeminate males, advise them before the Syariah Penal Code Order comes into effect on April 22,” he told media personnel in the audience.
The section states that any man who dresses and poses as a woman, or any woman who dresses and poses as a man, in any public place without a reasonable excuse is guilty of an offence. If convicted, the offender will be punished with a maximum fine of $1,000, imprisoned for up to three months or both.
Meanwhile, cross-dressing and behaving as the opposite gender in any public place for immoral purposes faces a maximum fine of $4,000, imprisoned for up to one year or both.
However, Farizan pointed out that any member of law enforcement who dresses and poses as the opposite gender on undercover operations, or anyone who cross-dresses and behaves as the opposite gender for educational purposes will be exempted
Posng as the opposite gender is among the new criminal offences listed under the General Offences Chapter in the Syariah Penal Code Order.
In a previous briefing on the Islamic law, a female member of the audience asked whether women could be guilty of the cross-dressing offence if they wore clothing that are deemed “manly”, giving the example of females donning trousers while playing sports.
Hj Hardifadhillah Hj Mohd Salleh, special grade officer of Syariah law, explained that Section 198 would only apply if the clothing was worn with the intent to imitate the opposite gender.
“There is a difference between a female who wears pants while playing sports and a female who wears pants with the intent to imitate the opposite gender. When a female wants to imitate the opposite gender, she also tries to behave like a male,” he said.
On April 22, Brunei will enforce the first phase of the Syariah Penal Code Order with 55 criminal offences that are punishable by fines or imprisonment under the General Offences Chapter.
Heavier punishments, including amputation for theft, will come into action in the second phase of the law, 12 months after the finalisation of the Syariah Courts Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The third and final phase will take place 24 months after the Syariah Courts CPC has been gazetted.
Execution of the death penalty, such as stoning to death for adultery, can only be carried out after the Syariah law has been fully implemented.
The Brunei Times
Friday, April 4, 2014