Gay people will make Malaysia ‘unhealthy and unethical’ if they achieve equality, says leader
A political party leader in Malaysia has said that if LGBT+ people keep pushing for equal rights, it could destroy the health and ethics of a generation.
Latteffah Ali, state chairperson of the women’s wing of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) – the main opposition party in the country, contributed to the ongoing firestorm in the country around LGBT+ rights.
Religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa attracted global attention earlier this month when he ordered two portraits of LGBT+ Malaysian activists be removed from an exhibition.
Speaking about the controversy, he said: “Society cannot accept LGBT being promoted because that is against norms, culture and religion.”
Since then, a series of political figures – including members of the Government – have voiced worrying views about Malaysia’s queer populace.
The latest disturbing comments came from Ali, the head of the Negeri Sembilan women’s branch of UMNO, while she was responding to comments from social activist Marina Mahathir, who called for LGBT+ equality in Malaysia.
Ali said: “We do not understand the equality which social activist Marina Mahathir wants to fight for.
“There is no direct denial of rights for LGBT people, who enjoy all the facilities and other privileges as Malaysians.”
It is illegal to have gay sex in Malaysia, there are no anti-discrimination laws, same-sex marriage is banned and same-sex couples and transgender people enjoy zero legal recognition from the state.
Despite this, Ali spoke out against treating LGBT+ people like normal citizens, saying that “if the government continues to provide opportunities for this group, we are worried there will be another demand.
“Can a man change into a woman, be recognised as a woman and then go into the women’s toilets?” she asked attendees of the press conference.
“For me, it’s not fair, especially for Muslim women.
“As far as I know, Western countries do not accept this group, but when a lot of cries are made to claim their rights, they are finally accepted and that’s what we are worried about.”
Ali said that LGBT+ people who push for more rights should be stopped immediately to guarantee a “healthy and ethical generation.”
She continued: “That’s why we at Negeri Sembilan UMNO Wanita speak, because we see people relenting and accepting LGBT people’s views. I’m sorry, but I’m upset.
“I want to emphasise that we will not compromise on this issue, and will strongly deny any baseless claims about it.
“Most likely, we will send a protest notice to the government,” she added.
Yesterday (August 13), Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye, said LGBT people suffer from an “organic disorder.”
Two women in the country have also been sentenced to six lashings each after being arrested for having sex with each other.
The country groups gay sex together with bestiality in a list of offences which are “against the order of nature.”
The women, who are 32 and 22, pleaded guilty after sharia enforcement officials in the northeastern state of Terengganu found them having sex in a car with a dildo.
They have also been fined RM3,300 (£630) each, and told that they will face a four-month prison term if they fail to pay.
And earlier this week, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mahfuz Omar said LGBT+ people need to be helped to return to their “original identities” and that allowing people to be trans would cause chaos in society.
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In April, a Malaysian university held a contest to convert gay students.
The Universiti Sains Malaysia, based on the island of Penang, advertised the competition as “a campaign to invite friends who have [a] disorder in [their] sexual orientation to return to their natural nature in a worthwhile way.”
This came just two months after a newspaper in the country published a checklist which provided guidance about “how to spot a gay”.
Leading outlet Sinar Harian listed traits held by gay men such as a love of beards, branded clothing and going to the gym – although not for the purpose of exercise, but to pull other men.
The list also said that it was a telltale sign of gay men if their eyes lit up when they saw men who they found to be attractive.