Malaysian Anti-LGBT Hostilities
Malaysian Anti-LGBT Hostilities
LGBT rights in Malaysia
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Malaysia face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Sodomy is a crime in the country, under a British Empire colonial era law. Social attitudes towards the LGBT community are also shaped by Islam, the official religion in Malaysia.
Human Rights Watch states that “Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive in Malaysia.”
LGBT rights in Malaysian politics
The “People’s Anti-Homosexual Voluntary Movement”, was created in 1998 to lobby for stricter criminal laws against homosexuality, and is a member of the former ruling party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
Parti Sosialis Malaysia is the only political party that openly support and defend the rights of LGBT people and they see LGBT rights just like any other minority rights.
The current ruling coalition, Pakatan Harapan has had a few MPs voice out for LGBT Rights, along with the daughter of the prime minister. However, there is still no legal protection for the LGBT community yet.
While not solely a problem for LGBT people, the public health response to AIDS-HIV has required greater public discussion of topics such as human sexuality, gender roles, and sexual orientation.
Since the first official case of AIDS appeared in the nation in 1985, the government has been under more pressure to promote education and prevention campaigns as some experts have suggested that the number of Malaysians infected with HIV could go as high as 300,000 by the year 2015.
In 2006, the Government launched a new comprehensive public campaign that includes therapy and needle exchange programs for drug addicts and free medications provided at government clinics. However, in 2007, Malaysia’s Ministry of Health was banned from advocating the use of condoms to prevent the spread of the disease due to a concern that such a campaign would be equated with a governmental endorsement of sexual conduct outside of a legal marriage.
Global Media Coverage
What is happening to LGBTI rights in Malaysia?
Malaysia’s new government promised to tackle human rights, but in the last few months the country’s LGBTI Malaysians have felt increasingly under threat
More than four months after a historic change in government in Malaysia, the LGBTI community is bemoaning a backsliding in rights in the country.
Malaysia’s new leader Mahathir Mohamed promised, with his Pakatan Harapan coalition, to tackle human rights and launch ‘Malaysia Baru’, a New Malaysia.
‘The reality is nothing changes’ an LGBTI actor and director in capital Kuala Lumpur told Gay Star News. ‘I still don’t feel like a worthwhile citizen’.
Malaysia never supported UN declarations protecting LGBT, claims activist
IPOH, Sept 6 — Malaysia has never signed United Nations (UN) declarations that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a conservative Muslim rights activist said today.
Dr Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar, who is president of the anti-LGBT WAFIQ women’s group, claimed that UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which Malaysia signed, did not specify sexual orientation or gender identity as a characteristic protected from discrimination.
‘People are afraid’: Gay caning stokes fear in Malaysia’s LGBT community
Malaysia is accused of cracking down on LGBT people in the country, as hopes that Mahathir’s new government would be more inclusive have stuttered following a series of events that have dismayed the LGBT community and their allies.
Klang MP to govt: Repeal all laws that criminalise homosexuality
PETALING JAYA: In the wake of the public caning of two women found guilty of attempting to have same-sex relations, one Member of Parliament is asking for laws that criminalise homosexuality to be immediately repealed.
“We need to stop targeting the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) community. We need to stop invading their privacy. We need to stop abusing them.
“We need to grow up as a society and learn to embrace diversity.
“The new Pakatan Harapan government, which was voted in on the premise of inclusion, must therefore repeal all laws that criminalise homosexuality without any delay.
“And this is because we really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned, let alone because of their sexuality,” said Klang MP Charles Santiago in a statement Monday.
Islamist politician says Malaysian govt. should ‘take action’ against LGBTI community
Nasrudin Hassan also hit out at the religious affairs minister for meeting with a transgender rights activist
A politician from an Islamist party in Malaysia has defended a sermon which said the government should take ‘stern action’ against the country’s LGBTI community.
Nasrudin Hassan also hit out at the religious affairs minister for meeting with a transgender rights activist.
Nasrudin is the information chief for the Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS as they are commonly known.
He rebutted criticism which suggested that the sermon, held by a regional council, was provoking discord and defended anti-LGBT laws.
Two Malaysia women flogged for same-sex relations
Two women who pleaded guilty to attempting same-sex relations were given six strokes of the cane at the Sharia High Court of north-eastern state Terengganu in Malaysia on Monday.
The punishment took place behind closed doors in the courtroom after the judge handed down the sentence with close to 150 witnesses present.
The unidentified women, aged 22 and 23, were fined 806 dollars (3,300 ringgit) in addition to the six strokes of the cane.
The caning, originally scheduled for Aug. 28, was postponed to Monday due to technical reasons, the Chief Registrar of the court, Wan Wan-Sidek, said as he defended the public caning.
“The power of the court has been enacted in [the] Terengganu state constitution … Sharia laws allow for women to be punished, they are just being educated and not tortured,’’ Wan-Sidek said.
With lesbians sentenced to whipping, women’s groups want Shariah criminal laws repealed
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Women’s groups urged the government to abolish Shariah criminal legislation, as two women are scheduled to be whipped in the Terengganu shariah court tomorrow for trying to have sex.
In a memorandum to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Attorney General Tommy Thomas, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) also said the sentencing of the two women violated the right to equality under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, as a woman cannot be whipped under federal law but she can under state shariah law.
“In the long term, we urge the government to conduct a comprehensive review of the Shariah Criminal Offences laws of this country, with a view to repeal such laws, thus enabling all Malaysians to be governed by a single Penal Code under federal administration,” JAG said in their memorandum.
“In 2005, Sisters in Islam, a member of JAG submitted a memorandum to the government to reiterate its call for the Shariah Criminal Offences laws to be repealed on the grounds that they have no basis in Islamic legal theory and practice; they conflict with the Federal Constitution and that they conflict or overlap with the Penal Code and other federal laws,” the coalition added.
JAG urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to “once and for all” deal with the implications of “such intrusive” moral policing laws.
Shariah matters are under state jurisdiction. PAS won Terengganu in the 2018 election, without a single PH representative in the state legislative assembly.
Brutal Attack On A Trans Woman Sparks Fear In Malaysia’s LGBTQ Community
RANTAU, Malaysia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In her dimly lit room in a Malaysian village, Suki rests on a bed as she recovers from a brutal attack that has highlighted what campaigners say is growing hostility towards gay and transgender people in the country.
A transgender woman, Suki was beaten up by a group of assailants last week with sticks and plastic pipes in Seremban, a town south of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
She suffered broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and head injuries that required seven stitches. Police have arrested eight men suspected of carrying out the attack.
Mahathir’s Malaysia accused of ‘state-sponsored homophobia’ after LGBT crackdown
Government minister Khalid Samad later released a statement on the motivations behind the raid. “Hopefully this initiative can mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society,” he said.
It sent a clear signal to the LGBT community. Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of transgender rights group Justice For Sisters, says: “We are under attack in an unprecedented way.”
Just two days before the raid, a transgender woman was brutally beaten on the street in Seremban while seven others watched. The attack left her with broken ribs, a broken backbone and a ruptured spleen.
LGBTs: Not ogres, a disease, or contagious
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa sparked a timely debate on the LGBT issue when he ordered for the portraits of two LGBT activists to be removed from a photography exhibition.
The reaction of political and religious leaders to the LGBT community “coming out of the closet” was predictable. Mujahid’s excuse meanwhile was that the portraits were “promoting LGBT activities” which was not in line with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) policies.
I’m not sure how portraits of what looks like two normal people promote LGBT activities. The portraits were not pornographic nor did they display lewd signs. But Mujahid did not explain what exactly was out of step with PH policies on LGBT.
LGBTI people warned to keep their ‘lifestyle choices’ private in Malaysia
The situation has been getting tense for LGBTI people in Malaysia over the past couple of weeks
Pressure is mounting on Malaysia’s government to stop the caning of two women arrested for ‘attempted sexual relations’.
Human rights groups condemned the Terengganu Syariah Court’s ruling to sentence two women to six lashes and a RM3,330 (US$814) fine.They judge order the women’s caning for 28 August.
The Syariah Court follows Islamic Sharia Law in which same-sex relations are illegal. They are also illegal in broader Malaysian law.
SUHAKAM is the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia. It said such a ‘punishment is humiliating, demeaning and an attempt to publicly embarrass the women and their families’.
It called on the government to not only abolish corporal punishment in Malaysia but to protect the two women.
But SUHAKAM also warned LGBTI people to ‘keep their lifestyle choices private’.
A Doctor Criticised LGBTs In Malaysia. Here’s How Other Medical Practitioners Responded
A doctor who expressed her contempt towards the LGBT community has received several responses from the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and other fellow practitioners
In a Facebook post, that has since been removed for not following Community guidelines, Dr Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi addressed political activist Marina Mahathir who stood up for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community when LGBT activists portraits were removed from a recent photography exhibition.
RECOGNITION IN MALAYSIA
A LEGAL & POLICY
REVIEW IN THE CONTEXT
OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Kuala Lumpur Pride cancelled due to ‘religious complaints’
A Pride event set to take place in Kuala Lumpur has been cancelled due to religious complaints.
The three-day event which was organised by Taylor’s University will no longer go ahead.
The organisers added that the ban on the Pride event illustrated a wider issue with anti-LGBT movements in Malaysia.
LGBT Malaysians uphold democracy because we are citizens
We are appalled by the absurd, irresponsible and inaccurate claims made by the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) chief executive Azril Mohd Amin regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in two news articles here and here dated Nov 27, 2016.
In both articles, Centhra irresponsibly labeled LGBT persons and groups as ‘militant’ simply for participating in Bersih 5 and supporting the urging for clean and fair elections. LGBT persons and groups stand in solidarity with diverse groups and all people living in Malaysia urging good, transparent and accountable governance in our country.
In the articles, Centhra also criticised Bersih for allowing LGBT persons to participate in the rallies. We find the urging to isolate and police LGBT groups and persons deeply troubling.
The fact is, LGBT persons are often denied some, if not all, of fundamental human rights because of our sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
LGBT still under threat in Malaysia
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed in its World Report 2016 that the Malaysian government increased its campaign of harassment and repression against activists, political opposition figures, and the media last year.
Malaysia Staunchly Opposes LGBT Rights
The country’s prime minister recently compared the LGBT community to terror group ISIS.
This is the sixth part of a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there.
Walk into any theater in Malaysia screening a movie with a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender character, and you can expect to watch a similar plot unfold: All LGBT characters will “die or repent” by the end of the film.
In a move that was considered to be an improvement, the Malaysian government’s Film Censorship Board issued a controversial guideline change in 2010.
“We are now allowed to show these scenes,” Malaysian Film Producers’ Association president Ahmad Puad Onah told Agence France-Presse. “As long as we portray good triumphing over evil and there is a lesson learned in the film, such as from a gay [character] who turns into a [straight] man. Previously we are not allowed to show these at all.”
Malaysia has long been unequivocal in its stance on LGBT issues.
The country’s embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak has reiterated time and again that Malaysia will not defend LGBT rights. Earlier this year, Razak compared the LGBT community to the Islamic State terror group. Both, he said, are enemies of Islam.
Muslim group launches anti-LGBT campaign against rainbow Facebook profile photos
KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 ― The National Muslim Youth Association (Pembina) has launched a campaign against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
Using the hashtag #BeliaTolakLGBT, which translates to “Youths against LGBT”, Pembina urged its supporters to change their Facebook profile photos to an image of a crossed-out rainbow flag, to reverse the tide of rainbow-tinged profile photos supporting the ruling.
“[The profile photo] has become a trend and is followed by non-Muslims across the world. In Islam it is clear that same sex relations are completely forbidden,” said the group, which is the student wing of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).
“But what was really sad is Muslims themselves have followed the direction to support the LGBT by changing their profile pictures and showing their support under the name of freedom for the LGBT.”
Malaysian newspaper criticized for publishing biased traits of LGBT individuals
The Sinar Harian daily newspaper recently published an article suggesting that homosexual men like to wear tight shirts to show six packs and to go to the gym to meet people rather than do workout, and that gay men were easy to identify because of their beards and branded clothing.
Moreover, the article labelled lesbians as tending to hug each other, holding hands, belittling men and staying alone.
The article has aroused a lot of media attention and has sparked criticism from LGBT rights activists.
Malaysia states eye harsher laws for Muslim gays
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Two Malaysian states are set to change their Islamic laws to punish Muslims who engage in homosexuality, raising the prospect of gay Muslims being punished twice and stoking concerns about rising intolerance towards same-gender relationships.
Homosexuality is punishable by law in Malaysia by caning and up to 20 years in jail, but the legal amendments planned by Pahang and Malacca religious authorities would give the state governments additional ammunition.
If the proposed changes came into force, a Muslim homosexual could be punished under both federal and state religious charges, meaning that jail terms could run consecutively and result in longer time.
Analysts said the proposed amendments hinted at an increasing intolerance towards homosexuality and could erode support for the government among the majority ethnic Malays, who are Muslims by birth.
Malaysian Authorities Block a Festival Celebrating Gays
Malaysian authorities on Thursday ordered gay rights activists to scrap an annual festival that had drawn fire from conservative politicians and religious leaders, with officials saying the event “threatens national security.”
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Malaysia’s anti-gay camp violates law says minister
A camp set up to correct the effeminate behaviour of Muslim schoolboys violates the law and should be abolished, says Malaysia’s women’s minister.
Sixty-six schoolboys identified by teachers as effeminate began counselling this week to discourage them from being gay.
They are undergoing four days of religious and physical education.
An education official said the camp was meant to guide the boys back “to a proper path in life”.
But the women’s minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said singling out these children based on perceived feminine mannerisms was traumatising and harmful to their mental health.
The camp violates the Child Act, which protects children without prejudice, she said.
Gay rights groups have also criticised the measure, saying it promotes homophobia in the Muslim-majority country where gay sex is still illegal.
Gay singer Adam Lambert promises not to offend Malaysia
Adam Lambert has promised to tone down his live show to avoid offending Malaysia.
The gay singer is currently touring Asia but was accused of trying to promote “gay culture” in the Muslim country.
The opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party hit out at his performances, saying they were “outrageous, with lewd dancing and a gay performance that includes kissing male dancers”.
The party’s youth leader Nasrudin Hasan said: “This is not good for people in our country”.
Social stigma is very negative towards the LGBT community as well. The distinctions drawn between homosexuality and transgenderism in the U.S. are not the same in Malaysia. There are many different overlapping terms in the Malay language for members of the LGBT community, but they are all currently subject to blanket condemnation (Baba 143-145). Because this condemnation is based in the values of Islam and their connections to Malay nationalism, it is less likely to be applied to a visitor, someone already considered a foreigner