Cops keep mum on Nur Sajat
Refuse to confirm reports on asylum
published : 22 Sep 2021 at 06:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Thai police have refused to confirm media reports that Malaysian transgender entrepreneur, Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman, who is wanted by authorities in her home country, is looking to claim political asylum.
Deputy police spokesman, Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen, on Tuesday told media that Zaman, who is better known as Nur Sajat, has yet to officially submit an application here. More details will be disclosed later, he said.
Zaman, 36, was arrested on Sept 8 by officials from the Immigration Bureau's Combating Transnational Criminals and Illegal Immigrants Centre (CTIC), along with a man and a woman, at a condominium in Bangkok's Yannawa district, after receiving a tip-off from Malaysian authorities.
She was charged with immigration-related offences, including illegal entry and released on bail of about 66,000 baht. She was also instructed to report to immigration officials every two weeks.
However, a source said that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has received an application from Zaman to be classified as a refugee and be resettled in Australia.
The source said that when an immigration check revealed Zaman's passport had been cancelled by the Malaysian government, she then applied for refugee status with the UNHCR.
The UN agency was now reportedly looking to secure approval for her to resettle in Australia.
The cosmetics entrepreneur claims she cannot go back to Malaysia as she has received death threats after announcing she would be leaving Islam.
She is wanted by Malaysian authorities for fleeing charges brought by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department for violating the country's sharia laws by dressing up as a woman.
According to a Thai immigration source, Malaysia has sought Zaman's extradition to face trial in the country's Islamic courts.
Zaman reportedly failed to appear for a sharia court hearing in February this year concerning a case brought against her almost three years ago for dressing as a woman.
She is accused of appearing in a traditional baju kurung, a costume worn by women at a religious event in 2018.
The offence carries a fine of up to RM5,000 or almost 40,000 baht and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
- Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman