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Content about Malaysia

November 12, 2014

Religious authorities say only 15 to 20 participants rejected their advice

Malaysian religious authorities have said 1,000 'gender confused' individuals have joined government 'rehabilitation' programs since they were started in 2010.

The director-general of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Othman Mustapha, said on Monday that only 15 to 20 people had rejected the advice given at the voluntary camps, which 'are based on self-empowerment, spirituality and rehabilitation.'

November 12, 2014

Religious authorities say only 15 to 20 participants rejected their advice

Malaysian religious authorities have said 1,000 'gender confused' individuals have joined government 'rehabilitation' programs since they were started in 2010.

The director-general of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Othman Mustapha, said on Monday that only 15 to 20 people had rejected the advice given at the voluntary camps, which 'are based on self-empowerment, spirituality and rehabilitation.'

November 10, 2014

Court found a state ban on cross-dressing unconstitutional

Malaysia's deputy prime minister has called for a review of last week's landmark ruling that scrapped a state Sharia enactment banning cross-dressing.

Muhyiddin Yassin said that while the government respected the Court of Appeal's decision, the Attorney-General's Chambers and Negeri Sembilan state religious department should appeal to the federal court because of its huge implications on society.

October 27, 2014

Opposition leader is standing trial for sodomy this week

A right-wing Malaysian newspaper has said supporting oppositon leader Anwar Ibrahim means supporting the international LGBTI rights movement ahead of his sodomy trial on Tuesday.

Anwar has been prosecuted under the country's colonial anti-gay law four times in what LGBTI groups have called a politically motivated prosecution. He is appealing his March sentence of five years in jail.

October 24, 2014

The country's opposition leader has been prosecuted four times under the law

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an end to the prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim under the country's anti-gay law.

Next week, the country's top court will hear Anwar’s appeal of his March conviction for violating the colonial sodomy law, which criminalizes same-sex relations.

The prosecution is cross-appealing Anwar’s five-year jail term, which could result in a sentence of up to 20 years.

September 25, 2014

Report finds transgender women face systemic abuse and discrimination in one of the few countries to criminalize them

Malaysian transgender women are routinely arrested and abused by religious officials and police in one of the few countries to criminalize them, according to a new report.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed 45 transgender people for the report, which was released today.

One of the interviewees, Victoria, said she was arrested in 2011 by religious officials who stripped and sexually assaulted her.

‘They were rough. One of them squeezed my breasts. I was completely humiliated,' she said.

September 19, 2014

A former GSN intern sends us some postcards from her autumn getaway

A year ago Anisa Easterbrook, while interning for Gay Star News, sent us a postcard from her trip to Malaysia.

Now an independent reporter, on London’s lesbian scene and more, she sends us some more postcards, from an enviable trip on Egypt’s coast.

'I have traveled around the world, but I've found Egypt knows how to take luxury to a new level.

September 2, 2014

The two students could face up to three months in jail and six cane strokes after a sex toy was found in their room

A lesbian couple was arrested by religious officers yesterday during a raid of a budget hotel in Malaysia.

Nine officers from the Johor Islamic Religious Department raided their room in Johor Bahru at around 12.45am as part of a morality raid ahead of the country's national day, the Sinar Harian newspaper reported.

One of the women answered the door while the other was naked in the bathroom. 

September 2, 2014

The two students could face up to three months in jail and six cane strokes after a sex toy was found in their room

A lesbian couple was arrested by religious officers yesterday during a raid of a budget hotel in Malaysia.

Nine officers from the Johor Islamic Religious Department raided their room in Johor Bahru at around 12.45am as part of a morality raid ahead of the country's national day, the Sinar Harian newspaper reported.

One of the women answered the door while the other was naked in the bathroom. 

July 22, 2014

Human rights groups are calling on Malaysia’s National Unity Consultative Council to stand strong in the face of criticism after it included sexuality and gender identity among protected groups in a draft new anti-discrimination bill

Malaysian human rights groups Diversity and Penang Freedom to Love are asking their country’s National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) to stand firm via a new online petition campaign after it released a draft bill of a proposed new anti-discrimination law.

The current draft of National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill would prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexuality by the government or any person.

June 13, 2014

Chooi Cheung attacked her lover and former employee with a knife, suspecting she was leaving the country with money she had lent her

A woman who stabbed her lesbian lover in the face and neck while she was sleeping has been sentenced with life imprisonment.

In December 2013, businesswoman Chooi Cheung, 53, stabbed her lover of seven years Leng Hie Tiong, 38, in the face and neck as they lay in bed together.

The attack was reportedly sparked by Cheung thinking Tiong was going to leave her and move back to Malaysia, along with a large amount of money she had lent her.

June 11, 2014

Women were rounded up by religious vice authorities in raid on a wedding

A group of trans women have had their heads shaved and jailed in a male prison in Malaysia.

The 16 women, who were sentenced on Monday (9 June), have already served two days in prison.

It followed their arrest at a wedding in Bahau, Jempol, because the religious police said the women and one other were violating Sharia law.

The other escaped jail, as she was under the age of 18, but will be counselled for a year to ‘cure’ her condition.

April 27, 2014

'Obama wants to appear to his own people, and to the rest of the world, as the leader of the free world. It is easy for him to perform USA's moral leadership globally by supporting rights issues elsewhere. But why should Obama have the moral imperative to support local rights issues elsewhere?'

(With US President Barack Obama on a historic visit to Malaysia this weekend, Malaysian LGBT rights activist Pang Khee Teik responds to the Human Rights Watch’s call on Obama to address LGBT issues among other rights during his visit.)

April 26, 2014

'Speaking out on anti-gay persecution in Kuala Lumpur could have a long-lasting impact in Malaysia, both in demonstrating international support for this community under threat, and in setting the tone for a more civil public debate in the country,' says Human rights Watch's Asia advocacy director John Sifton

US President Barack Obama should use his historic visit to Malaysia this weekend to speak directly to concerns about the country’s deteriorating human rights situation, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday.

Obama arrives in the Muslim-majority country on Saturday for a two-night stay; the first visit by a serving US president since 1966.

March 22, 2014

The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus calls on the ASEAN governments to place greater priority on the well-being and welfare of all peoples in its 10 member-states

LGBT rights activists attending the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Civil Society Conference/ ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) in Yangon, Myanmar from 21 to 23 March 2014 are continuing to lobby its 10 member-states to promote and protect the rights of its LGBTIQ people.

The 10 member-states are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The ACSC/APF is held ahead of the ASEAN Summit in May which will also be hosted by Myanmar, the Chair of ASEAN this year.

March 8, 2014

Human rights groups have called the campaign against the former deputy prime minister politically motivated

A Malaysian court on Friday overturned an earlier acquittal and sentenced opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail on sodomy charges, ending his hopes of contesting a local by-election this month.

In 2008, Anwar was charged for having sex with a male aide. He was acquitted in 2012 by a High Court citing a lack of evidence. The government later appealed the court’s ruling.

February 12, 2014

International human rights group Human Rights Watch has called on the Malaysian Government to stop trying to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted over claims he has had sex with men and to end its colonial era ban on gay sex

Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to end its attempts to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim jailed over claims he has had sex with men in what is widely viewed as an effort to keep the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in power.

BN have ruled Malaysia since 1974 and Ibrahim is a former BN MP turned vocal critic of the government who has been trying to unseat the Malaysian Government since 1998.

February 12, 2014

International human rights group Human Rights Watch has called on the Malaysian Government to stop trying to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted over claims he has had sex with men and to end its colonial era ban on gay sex

Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to end its attempts to have Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim jailed over claims he has had sex with men in what is widely viewed as an effort to keep the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in power.

BN have ruled Malaysia since 1974 and Ibrahim is a former BN MP turned vocal critic of the government who has been trying to unseat the Malaysian Government since 1998.

February 5, 2014

Gay people live in and travel to places that may not have the best LGBTI rights record. Should that stop us from traveling to these destinations?

Last month, some of the LGBTI community’s leading activists met in London to debate the ethics of LGBTI travel.

Should individuals travel to a country hostile to the gay, bi and trans community?

Should travelers boycott these countries in attempts to influence them by hurting their travel industry, or should we go anyway to engage with the locals and support the local LGBTI movement?

January 29, 2014

Dick Pound: 'Not that I approve of the law, but putting it on a scale of 1-10 of odious laws, it’s not way up there near 10'

Dick Pound, a Canadian who is a member of the International Olympic Committee, says Russia's anti-gay propaganda law isn't so bad when you compare it to some other countries.

'In Malaysia, you can be put to death. In Nigeria, you can be put in jail for God knows how long,' Pound tells Metro News.'So it’s a target of convenience with respect to Russia'

January 11, 2014

Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned and accused the country’s leading human rights coalition of pursuing gay, lesbian and transgender rights which "run contrary to Islam"

In a move that has been denounced by human rights groups including Amnesty International, Malaysia's Home Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement declaring the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) illegal because the group and 39 of its 54 member-organisations are not registered with the government.

January 11, 2014

Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned and accused the country’s leading human rights coalition of pursuing gay, lesbian and transgender rights which "run contrary to Islam"

In a move that has been denounced by human rights groups including Amnesty International, Malaysia's Home Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement declaring the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) illegal because the group and 39 of its 54 member-organisations are not registered with the government.

December 31, 2013

A group of local gay men show Sydney-based journalist Chris Muakcha Topp through the Malaysian capital during Ramadan, offering a warm welcome in a city with a dicey anti-gay reputation

I won't usually visit a country where me and my kin can face severe penalties for being who we are and doing what we do.

But this time a booking stuff-up of my own making means I'm spending less than two days in Malaysia enroute from Bangkok to Sydney.

And part of me likes the idea of spending even a short time alone exploring a new city, although I realize this isn't a choice everyone has the privilege to make.

November 20, 2013

For Transgender Day of Remembrance, we remember the horrific tragedies that led to the deaths of trans victims worldwide

When you hear that 238 trans people have been killed this year, including 11 children, it’s a horrific number.

But it’s more than a number. It is 238 people just like you who have lost their lives to intolerance, to hatred, and to fear.

When we sit and remember these victims on Transgender Day of Remembrance today (20 November), we must remember these people had hopes and dreams.

And most importantly, they had futures.

Below is a list of the men and women identified by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project.