Malaysia's deputy education minister has told parents 'intervention' can help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children 'return to the right path'.
Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi was speaking at a parenting seminar organized by teachers' group Yayasan Guru Malaysia Berhad, the same group who caused derision the world over for producing guidelines on how to identify LGBT children.
'LGBT is a social illness. We have to raise awareness on it. Just like drugs, a lack of awareness will cause LGBT to spread,' Puad said, Malaysian newspaper The Star reports.
'Intervention by teachers and parents, followed by counseling, can help them to return to the right path.'
Malaysian LGBT rights activist Jerome Kugan accused Puad of spreading misinformation.
'I believe Dr Puad's statements to be irresponsible because of the detrimental effects it may cause to the mental health of LGBT persons,' Kugan told Gay Star News. 'Being LGBT is not a sin nor an illness.
'The real illness here is misunderstanding and unsubstantiated hatred. LGBT Malaysians exist in all the various ethnic groups and social classes in this country and most of us are simply trying to make a life for ourselves just like everyone else. But hateful sentiments like Dr Puad's make things worse.
'My plea would be for the Malaysian Education Ministry to educate itself on the right facts surrounding LGBTs before making sweeping statements about things they clearly have no clue of. As cliche as it may sound, education is the key.'