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In 1991, Lim Ying, then aged 30, a female Malaysian babysitter who claimed she did not know that her husband had undergone a sex-change operation until their wedding night was granted an annulment by the High Court on 13 June 1991. Judicial commissioner K S Rajah declared her marriage to Eric Hiok Kian Ming null and void. Lim discovered her husband's secret, that he was assigned female at birth, on their wedding night when they attempted to have sex. Hiok, who appeared very masculine, disagreed, arguing that Lim knew beforehand that he was a transman. They could not have penetrative sexual intercourse because he had not been fitted with a penile implant.

Lim created legal history when her application to the High Court to have her marriage annulled succeeded. Judicial commissioner Rajah ruled that a person's sex was fixed at birth in the eyes of the law. The legal poser that the High Court had to tackle was whether the marriage was void right from the start, or whether it was just voidable. Rajah's judgment declared that the marriage was void from the beginning.

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This article was written by Roy Tan.

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