An official has revealed that the Malaysian government is training volunteers to 'help' the LGBT community, as part of its anti-homosexual campaign.
During a parliamentary session on Thursday (22 March), Mashitah Ibrahim, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said the Malaysian government has ‘prevention’ and ‘law enforcement’ as its theme when it comes to LGBT issues.
She suggested the government is working with several NGOs to curb the ‘spread’ of the ‘LGBT social problem’, especially amongst Muslims.
‘The LGBT lifestyle has exposed them to social problems such as prostitution, drugs, the risk of HIV/AIDS, as well as psychological and mental disorders’, she said.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the preventive measures include :
- the drafting of a LGBT-Mak Nyah (the Malaysian term for trans women) module;
- a trained volunteer programme to approach the LGBT community;
- instructing NGOs to carry out anti-homosexual campaigns;
- having a three-time programme last year where 74 transgenders were 'fulfilled' from a spiritual and physical viewpoint, as well as work opportunities.
LGBT-rights activist Pang Khee Teik told FMT that he expects the campaign to cause, among others, severe low-esteem and depression among LGBT youths, more attempted suicides, and discrimination and hostility condoning.
He pointed out camps had been conducted specifically for non-gender conforming men in government run tertiary institutions and, last year, for secondary school teenagers.
Lee Kam Wye, a netizen and retired secondary school teacher, also lambasted the official stance. He said it is a waste of money and resources to start any therapy, advising MPs to get expert medical and religious opinions from various sources.
‘LGBT may appear to be spreading not because more people are being recruited into LGBT lifestyle but because this community is braver and more open now,’ he said.
Baharum Mohamad, an MP, had urged the governmentearlier in the week to establish a gay rehab center to ‘combat’ homosexuality, further reflecting the stigmatization LGBTs face in the country.
Mashitah stressed no religion allows same-sex relationship and free sex, but admitted action can be taken against Muslim LGBTs under the Syriah Criminal Act. Sodomy, lesbianism, cross-dressing and improper conduct in public places are all subject to charges under the law.
She attributed LGBT-related problems partly to confusion as a result of the unisex lifestyle, since ‘so many things now are unisex, be it clothes, accessories, fashion and hairstyle’ that children are confused, reported the Malaysian Star newspaper.
Meanwhile, when lawmaker Fuziah Salleh said a group of intersex has sought employment help, Mashitah suggested there are already official assistance plans in place, urging her to follow them, according to Sin Chew Daily.