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No actions taken against homophobic doctor in Malaysia

No actions taken against homophobic doctor in Malaysia

A doctor who made homophobic comments has not been barred from government hospitals, says Malaysia’s health ministry.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad denied claims that Dr. Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi had been given a 24-hour transfer notice, Free Malaysia Today reported.

Dr Nur Ilyani made headlines after posting homophobic comments on Facebook.

In an open letter to Malaysian AIDS Foundation patron and human rights activist Marina Mahathir, Ilyani questioned her support for LGBTI people in Malaysia.

Ilyani also claimed that blood from LGBTI donors was tainted with HIV and other transmissible diseases.

She said that if the LGBTI community was allowed rights, then she should also have the right to live free of their ‘deviant lifestyles’.

Facebook later deleted Ilyani’s comments for violating the site’s community guidelines.

The government has taken little action despite an outcry from LGBTI rights groups and their allies for disciplinary action against the doctor.

Entitled to homophobic views?

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said Ilyani was within her rights to post such comments.

‘If there is any disciplinary action taken against the medical officer, I will personally speak out against it as she is entitled to give her personal views,’ he said.

Syed Saddiq also drew flak last month after the resignation of his press officer, who stepped down following a public outcry about him being openly gay.

The 25-year-old minister’s lackluster approach to fighting for LGBTI rights have disappointed many in Malaysia. They had expected the youngest minister in Southeast Asia to be representative of a new, progressive government.

The Parakan Harapan coalition achieved a shock victory in May. Their win brought the first regime change in the country. Many in Malaysia believed they would help bring about liberalizing policies and reforms.

However, the government’s approach to LGBTI rights has disappointed human rights activists.

LGBTI rights groups have been arguing against statements from the government and religious officials in the last few weeks.

Last week, a government official called for the removal of LGBTI activists’ portraits from the George Town Festival in Penang.