An LGBTI rights group has called on the Malaysian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into an apparent homophobic attack.
The Pelangi Campaign has requested police to look into a video that appears to show a group attacking an apparent same-sex couple.
Numan Afifi, president of the Pelangi Campaign, lodged a police report on Thursday (27 December).
‘We, a group of concerned citizens, are appalled and condemn the act of violence committed by the vigilante group,’ Numan said outside Dang Wangi police headquarters.
‘We urge the police to investigate the assault without fear and favor, and proactively provide security (and) protection for the victims and the LGBTQ community at large from being targeted,’ he added.
‘A hate crime’
The 96-second video, which has been widely circulated in Malaysia, appears to have been filmed on one of the perpetrators’ phones.
It shows a group of men verbally abusing and then attacking two men, who they accuse of having sex in a car. It is not clear from the video where the attack took place.
Speaking to The Star, Numan called the act a ‘hate crime’. ‘This is not the first case of violence against the LGBTQ community,’ he added.
‘In a country where peace and harmony prevail, we must acknowledge that this is a continuing threat that targets not only the LGBTQ community but also others, including women and religious minorities.’
Azlan Abdul Razak, a lawyer representing the Pelangi Campaign, also condemned the attack.
‘This is wrong in law and on so many levels. Even if the people involved thought that there were any crimes committed, it shouldn’t have led to this,’ Azlan said.
The apparent attack comes just over two weeks after a trans woman was beaten to death by a group of men in the city of Klang in West Malaysia.
The 32-year-old was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious outside a hotel in the morning of 12 December, but succumbed to her injuries soon after.
However, local police later said that the attack did not appear to be a hate crime, and seemed to be over a disputed theft of a mobile phone.
Four males aged between 16 and 21 have been charged with her murder.
LGBTI rights in Malaysia
Malaysia has seen a notable uptick in anti-LGBTI sentiment over the past year, with hardline Islamic groups in the Muslim-majority country routinely feeding into homophobic mindsets.
High-ranking government officials have either seemed hesitant to speak out against anti-LGBTI rhetoric or even fueled the stigmatization of the LGBTI community.
LGBTI rights and their allies have repeatedly spoken out against persecution against the LGBTI community.
In November, rights activists warned that the country’s constitution did not have necessary protections for its LGBTI population.