A senior civil servant said a government program has ‘rehabilitated’ almost 1,500 LGBTI people in Malaysia.
Mohd Izwan Md Yusof from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) made the claim in a speech on Monday (29 October).
Jakim started the Mukhayyam programme to give ‘spiritual intervention’ to LGBTI people. Mukhayyam is part of a long-running government campaign to get LGBTI people on to the ‘right path’.
Last year, Jakim released a video saying sexuality was like learning to ride a horse and if a LGBTI person wanted to become heterosexual they should receive training and guidance.
Some methods suggested were to marry the opposite gender or to subdue sexual desires by refusing to eat.
‘At the same time, Jakim calls on society to strengthen the family institution together and monitor the behaviour of their children to educate and provide religious understanding as best as they can,’ Mohd Izwan said in his speech on Monday according the Malay Mail.
About 1,450 people had accessed the programme already. Some have apparently married or are ‘controlling themselves from returning to that lifestyle’.
But Mohd Izwan also warned not to speak badly of LGBTI people but rather to help them get back on the ‘right path’.
The official also said the number of ‘homosexuals’ had jumped from 173,000 in 2013 to 310,000 this year. He also said the number of transgender people had increased from 10,000 in 1988 to 30,000 this year.
‘Gay cure’ or conversion therapy is an internationally condemned practice. Conversion or cure ‘therapies’ attempt to change LGBTI people’s sexuality or gender identity. They often use therapy, prayer, and even torture or violence to fix the persons perceived ‘brokenness’.