Minister denies connection to guidelines, but says the government is taking ‘this LGBT issue seriously’
The Malaysian deputy education minister said yesterday that the government is taking ‘this LGBT issue seriously’.
Mohd Puad Zarkashi was speaking to the Malaysian Insider about controversial guidelines distributed at a parents and teachers seminar called ‘Parenting in addressing the issue of LGBTs’ last week.
The guidelines advised parents to look out for gay ‘symptoms’ in their children, like wearing V-necks for boys.
Paud denied the Education Ministry endorsed the guidelines, despite his presence at the seminar.
‘There are no such published guidelines and I was only invited to officiate these events by the non-government organisations involved,’ he said, adding:
‘We in the Ministry of Education look at this LGBT issue seriously, and all we wish to do is to educate people, parents especially, on how to overcome this issue, how to prevent it as well as early corrective measures.’
Paud did not explain how the Education Ministry would ‘overcome this issue’ or what ‘early corrective measures’ they would advise parents to impose on their children. In 2011 the government opened a boot camp to ‘cure’ boys of effeminate behaviour.
In a more positive response to the guidelines controversy, four Malaysian organizations concerned with the welfare of children urged the government to implement sex and sexuality education in schools.
Voice of the Children, Yayasan Chow Kit, PS The Children and Malaysian Child Resource Institute said in their letter:
‘The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), of which Malaysia is a signatory, states that the government must ensure that children are protected against all forms of discrimination.
‘These LGBT guidelines are inaccurate and only promote stereotypical gender roles. Issuing such guidelines will promote hatred and rejection against children who do not conform to gender stereotypes.
‘Children should be taught about gender identity, the emotional effects of healthy peer relationships, as well as the various forms of sexuality.
‘This will not necessarily lead to children becoming sexually active or becoming homosexual.
‘Instead, it will help children understand their bodies better and make informed decisions on sex and sexuality.’