A gay Malaysian man faces the threat of deportation from the UK after his final appeal was rejected last week.
Yew Fook Sam has lived in Liverpool since 2017 and belongs to St Bride’s Church Liverpool.
The Home Office refused his asylum claims ‘because they don’t believe him to be gay because he doesn’t have a partner’.
Sam told Gay Star News when he found out the news: ‘I was very depressed, worried and scared.
‘I would have lost hope without the care and support of my flatmate, friends and community.
Care came in the form of St Bride’s Church.
They started a petition calling on the Home Office to grant him asylum.
A St Bride’s Church spokesperson said: ‘Sam is so concerned about being deported to Malaysia that he has expressed the desire that he would kill himself rather than return.
‘Sam’s story is an example of how the Home Office and the courts do not understand the experience of LGBT+ people living under oppressive regimes.’
Significantly, homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia under Section 377 of the Penal Code.
SUHAKAM, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, warned LGBTI Malaysians to ‘keep their lifestyle choices private’ last year.
‘I arrived in the UK in 2005,’ Sam said, ‘with a sponsorship to work for a Chinese restaurant in London.
‘I wanted to leave Malaysia as I am gay and wanted to keep that secret.
‘My wife found out I was gay and left me and took my two children to America.
‘I’ve not seen them since.’
Sam moved to Liverpool, volunteered at Liverpool Pride 2018 and frequently offers his advice to new refugees.
‘A well love member of the community’
Similarly, Sam is a member of Open Table, a Christian LGBTI support community that St Brides Church is part of.
Within five days, their petition tallied 930 signatures towards its goal of saving ‘a well loved member of the community’.
‘Deporting Sam to a place where he will face homophobia and imprisonment is unjust and needs to be stopped,’ they added.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘This Government has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
‘The UK remains a world leader in its approach to handling this type of asylum claim.
‘We do not routinely comment on individual cases.’
Soaring rejection rates
The UK is rejecting more gay and bisexual asylum claims than ever before.
In total, 78% of asylum claims based on sexual orientation were refused in 2017.
This has soared significantly since 2015, when the figure was 61%.