Males who appear to be gay, transsexual or effeminate will no longer be allowed on Malaysian television or radio.
In a Facebook message the Department of Information said such ‘characters’ went against social and religious norms, and were contributing to the rising support for the LGBT movement.
The message, posted today (6 April), said: ‘Effective immediately, radio and television stations have been asked to stop programmes that broadcast characters [depicting] ‘pondans’ (transsexuals), effeminate men as well as characters that are in conflict with social and religious norms because they can be said to be in support of and contributing to the increase of the LGBT social problem.’
The decision comes after the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia told a national conference two days ago (4 April) that LGBT people needed counselling.
'The symptoms of sexual orientation disorder like LGBT, which was previously faced by the Western society are now faced in our society also,' said Deputy PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the opening speech of the four-day conference. 'I believe that through an effective counselling approach, we will be able to curb this negative phenomenon from spreading in our community.'
According to progressive action site Free Malaysia Today, the Facebook message has already gained a fair amount of support.
Facebook user Afzal Mohamad said: ‘The government should have banned programmes like this from before. They don’t bring any benefit at all. They’re shameful and enliven these groups.’
It is not clear whether the message was commissioned by a department official or from Minister for Information, Communications and Culture Rais Yatim.
The decision from the Department of Information and the Deputy PM's speech is the latest in a series of state-sanctioned homophobic initiatives. Two weeks ago an MP called for gay 'rehab' centres to be set up to 'combat' homosexuality.
In response, Free Malaysia Today called for Malaysians to ‘stop the homosexual witch-hunt’ and gay rights campaigner Pang Khee Teik answered with a call to arms for LGBT people in Malaysia to fight against discrimination, saying ‘silence is what feeds the beast of oppression’.