Malaysian Doctor Fined After Accusing His Wife of Being a Man

Also: Minimum wage increase for Singapore’s custodial and security workers, Thai school closures ahead of shutdown.

Malaysian Doctor Fined After Accusing His Wife of Being a Man
Credit: DNA test via Shutterstock

Some Thursday ASEAN links:

A Malaysian man who made headlines in 2010 for accusing his wife of lying about her gender has been fined more than $3,500 by the Syariah High Court. Bahrom Sanugi, a 63-year-old former dean at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, claimed to have discovered a birth certificate stating that his spouse was born male just one year into their marriage – his third.

Bahrom had initially asked the courts to force his wife, Sri Wani Choo Abdullah, to take a DNA test, but his motion was denied. Sri Wani, a cosmetics boutique owner, countersued her husband’s lawyers for defamation, claiming business losses of more than $6,000 after the media storm surrounding her sex.

The court stated that Bahrom had failed to respond to affidavits regarding his request for a temporary separation from Sri Wani, as well as further requests suggesting a media gag order and jail time for his estranged wife.

Though Sri Wani has declined to undergo DNA testing, her aunt has been a vocal supporter – stating that she “bathed her as a child” and is thus certain that Sri Wani is a woman.

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Sri Wani’s legal team told reporters that Bahrom paid the first installment of his fine yesterday.

Over in Singapore, basic wages for custodians and security guards is set to rise significantly.

“The government is making the labor movement’s progressive wage model compulsory in the cleaning and security sectors,” wrote Channel NewsAsia. “This will set basic wage levels for low earners in these sectors through the model, which seeks to progressively raise wages as workers’ productivity improves through skills upgrading and training.”

The new minimum wage for cleaners will be set at approximately $800 a month – 20 percent higher than the current basic wage.

Cleaning companies will be required to obtain licenses that certify their commitment to the new compensation model. They have until September to comply.

Finally, in Thailand, nearly 150 public schools will be required to close ahead of the “Bangkok shutdown” being planned by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

“The PDRC hopes to topple the caretaker government and ensure national reform before the next general election, presently planned for Feb 2,” said The Bangkok Post. “[The shutdown] could not only cause damage to the country but also harm to other people’s lives and cause damage to property.”

Krit Watcharashritham, the Deputy Director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, signed off on the order to force the closure of schools. He cited concerns over student safety, as well as their ability to make it to and from school in the midst of the likely large-scale demonstration.