Malaysian youth dies after failing to change gender

A Malaysian Muslim youth who failed in his bid to change his name and gender after undergoing a sex change operation died of heart disease today.

Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abdul Aziz (25) shot into limelight after the Kuala Terengganu High Court rejected his application to change his gender and name to Aleesha Farhana in the national identity card, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported.

Aziz was admitted to a hospital at Kuala Terengganu, about 500 kilometers northeast of Kuala Lumpur, yesterday after experiencing heart problems and low blood pressure, it said.

Doctors said that he was suffering from unstable chest pains associated with heart disease.

The youth had undergone a sex change operation in Thailand in 2009.

Malaysian minister of Women, Family and Community Development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said she was deeply saddened that her ministry was not able to provide in time counselling to Hafiz.

"We were concerned about his wellbeing. My ministry is welfare-oriented and we are non-judgemental," the minister said.

"We try to understand and counsel anyone who needs our help, especially people who feel desperate but for Aziz, it is too late now," she said.

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law lecturer Assistant Professor Shamrahayu Ab Aziz said Islamic jurisprudence was very clear on the issue of transsexuals.

"Islam does not permit sex changes to avoid any confusion and problems that would crop up later," he said.

However, Shamrahayu said Islam allowed sex changes for hermaphrodites.

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