Malaysian Prime Minister says the country ‘cannot accept LGBT+ people’
Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said his country will not accept LGBT+ people or same-sex marriage.
The prime minister made his views on LGBT+ rights clear in response to progressive amendments recommended by the government-created Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the New Straits Times reports.
Amendments proposed include offering education, employment, healthcare and housing services to LGBT+ people without discrimination.
Mohamad, 93, told the group: “Suhakam has presented its proposals to us just now, including one on amending the Suhakam Act.
“While we agree with Suhakam [on certain things], we have to remind Suhakam that Malaysia has a different value system than the Westerners.
“For instance, we cannot accept LGBT as well as the marriage of man and man or woman and woman.”
“The concept of family remains the same—that it [constitutes] a couple with their own children or adopted ones to be considered as family,” added the prime minister.
“But two men or two women is not considered a family,” Mohamad clarified.
Gay sex is banned in the country, which groups it together with bestiality in a list of offences which are “against the order of nature.”
The leader’s comments come just two weeks after he condemned the caning of two women for having sex in the state of Terengganu, saying the punishment did “not reflect the ideals of justice and compassion of Islam.”
At the time, his sympathetic remarks represented a welcome reprieve from weeks of anti-LGBT statements from prominent politicians including Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who said queer citizens should keep their sexualities secret.
The current backlash against LGBT+ equality began last month, when religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa ordered two portraits of LGBT+ Malaysian activists be removed from an exhibition.
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 disturbing views about Malaysia’s LGBT+ populace.
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Latteffah Ali, state chairperson of the women’s wing of the United Malays National Organisation, said that if LGBT+ people keep pushing for equal rights, it could destroy the health and ethics of a generation.
Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye, said last month that LGBT+ people suffer from an “organic disorder.”
Mahfuz Omar, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said LGBT+ people need to be helped to return to their “original identities” and that allowing people to be transgender would cause chaos in society.
And in August, police raided The Blue Boy club, a gay bar in Kuala Lumpur.