The leader of the opposition in Malaysia has blamed the devastating quake-tsunami natural disasters in Indonesia on LGBTI people.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made the remarks in Parliament on Tuesday (23 October), claiming the destruction was ‘punishment from Allah’ caused by gay people.
He ‘warned’ of the growing influence of the LGBTI community in Malaysia. The community is facing increased discrimination from the government recently.
Speaking to Parliament, the former deputy prime minister said ‘If we look at the situation in Malaysia, we are concerned over the incident of earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Indonesia, recently, where it is believed more than 1000 [LGBTI people] were involved in such activities.
‘But the whole area was destroyed as part of God’s punishment.’
The earthquake and tsunami has killed thousands in Indonesia.
Charged with corruption
Zahid is president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), who ruled Malaysia for 60 years. However, they were ousted in a shock general election defeat in May.
Now, Zahid is facing charges on allegations of corruption.
Meanwhile, people spoke out against the comments. Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said: ‘Of all the pressing issues the Opposition leader @Zahid_Hamidi could have raised, he chose this.
‘Corruption is the biggest social ill and immoral activity in Malaysia. State Umno’s stance on this instead.’
Of all the pressing issues the Opposition Leader @Zahid_Hamidi could have raised, he chose this. Corruption is the biggest social ill and immoral activity in Malaysia. State UMNO's stance on this instead. pic.twitter.com/tjFtg4JE4s
— Hannah Yeoh (@hannahyeoh) October 23, 2018
Also, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman asked: ‘How about those who are corrupt and in cahoots with those who steal the people’s money? Will misfortune fall?’
LGBTI people have been under increased scrutiny in Malaysia. The country recently came under fire internationally after the public caning of two women caught trying to engage in sex.
Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty has warned the leaders of the country to stop using the LGBTI community for political gain.
In a statement on 3 October, the group’s coordinator Zaid Malek said: ‘The LGBT have to live in hiding or risk the wrath of both the public and the law. They have been disenfranchised and suffered for far too long.’