Malaysian LGBTIs should not be allowed to join the police force, a top police official has said.
Noor Rashid Ibrahim, Malaysia’s Deputy Inspector-General of Police, made the statement during a press conference on Saturday (23 April), according to the Malay Mail Online.
‘Until today, the LGBTI culture is not accepted in this country, so based on that principle, we still maintain the current quota for men and women,’ he said.
‘If they have the qualification, they have to adhere to the practices accepted in this country.’
Rashid made his claim after he was asked whether the country’s police force would accept applications from openly gay or transgender citizens, according to the newspaper.
Community and cultural sentiments are the reason for the exclusion of LGBTI people from police service, according to Rashid, as he claims these mean the country is unable to accept gay culture.
‘I’m not the one who dictates this culture, but it is the acceptance of our community,’ he said.
‘We just follow our ways here.’
Social activist Marina Mahathir called Rashid’s comments nonsense, saying police should concentrate on solving crime in the country instead of making life hard for LGBTI citizens.
‘If you fit all the criteria to join the police enforcement, I think your sexuality does not matter at all. I think everyone has the right,’ she told Astro Awani.
‘I don’t think anyone who have openly declared themselves as a gay, would even think of joining police because everyone knows police style is hostile.’
Under Malaysian law, homosexuality is punishable by fines, corporal punishment in the form of whipping and prison sentences of up to 20 years.
In the primarily Muslim country, Muslim citizens found guilty of sodomy may also be charged in special Islamic courts.
In 2014, the country’s court of appeal ruled Sharia law prohibiting cross-dressing, under which several trans people had been found guilty, as void and violating citizens’ constitutional rights to ‘freedom of expression, movement and the right to live in dignity and equality’.