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11 Apr 2012

No ban on LGBT characters: Malaysian Culture Minister; anti-gay rally planned for Apr 21

LGBT issues have continuously made the news since March 21 when an MP told Parliament that three out of every 10 men in Malaysia is gay followed by the Deputy PM's comments that LGBT people require counselling. The Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (Coalition of Malaysian Malays) has meanwhile launched an anti-LGBT campaign and is planning an anti-gay rally on April 21.

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Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim last Thursday clarified that there’s no ban on the portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) characters on state-owned television channels in Malaysia contrary to a Facebook posting by the Information Department.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim

"There is no ban on any artistic performance by any segment of society, including those acronymed as "soft" (or effeminate) men," he said in a Twitter posting on April 6.

However, he said the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture "still reserved the right to select content suitable for the general public given that Malaysia is a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country".

The minister’s comments follow news reports that quoted Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia or the Malaysian Information Department’s Facebook post on Thursday that read:

“Effective immediately, radio and television stations have been asked to stop programmes that broadcast characters (depicting) ‘pondans’ (transsexuals), effeminate men as well as characters that are in conflict with social and religious norms because they can be said to be in support of (and contributing to the increase of the LGBT social problem.”

The Sinchew newspaper on April 6 quoted Dr Rais as saying that effeminate males were guaranteed under the law to take part in any entertainment programme, including a play. He added that the principle of gender equality was guaranteed under Article 8 of the constitution.

Dr Rais was speaking to reporters at the 1Malaysia People's Outreach Programme in Jasin, Melaka.

"So, based on this principle, all genders have the right to take part in any entertainment programme, put up a stage show or display their skills, unless they commit crimes," he said.

A ballet due to be performed in Kuala Lumpur last weekend by the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) had been cancelled after failing to get approval from the Malaysian authorities. Media reports have claimed the permit was denied because of 'indecent' costumes such as short classical tutus.

Dr Rais Yatim has since refuted the report on Twitter, adding that no application for permit had been made and "strongly urged" for the ballet performance to be held.

LGBT issues have continuously made the news since March 21 when UMNO/Barisan Nasional MP Datuk Baharum Mohamad told Parliament that three out of every 10 men in Malaysia is gay and called on the government to establish a gay rehab center to 'combat' homosexuality.

Since then Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been quoted in the New Straits Times as saying that LGBT people require counseling to “prevent the spread of this negative culture, which was previously prevalent only in Western countries.”

Muhyiddin who is also Malaysia’s education minister was speaking at the opening of the four-day national counselling and education carnival at Universiti Putra Malaysia on April 4.

Anti-gay rally planned for Apr 21; "monitor and stop such activities from now on," Deputy Education Minister

The Malaysian Insider reports that anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups will organise a rally on April 21 at Dataran Merdeka to protest what they described as “unacceptable” sexual practices. The rally will reportedly be led by Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (Coalition of Malaysian Malays) and involve other non-governmental organisations and parent-teacher associations in Selangor, according to the New Straits Times on April 8.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong in The Malay Mail today distanced the Education Ministry from the controversial anti-gay campaign organised by JMM. It was reported in an online blog and a Malay daily that JMM was conducting an anti-LGBT campaign in about 30 schools.

He said it was not the ministry's stance to promote such negative perceptions against any segment of society and such activities must be monitored and stopped.

"I have received the report from the school. Actually, it was one of the PTA programmes. In light of what has happened, we want all the schools as well as the state education departments to monitor and stop such activities from now on," he said.

"We allow the PTAs to conduct activities but we must make sure we monitor the activities and that they are in line with the values we want to promote.

"It is all right to inculcate good values. We are not questioning their intentions but we want them to be more careful especially on this topic.

"When you say anti-LGBT or anti-anything, it can be perceived in a negative manner. With this sort of taglines, you have to be careful. I believe it is better to educate and teach instead of just going with 'anti' taglines."

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) Commissioner Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah has called on the government to intervene in light of JMM’s anti-LGBT campaign and planned rally.

"If it is true that they have begun an anti-LGBT campaign in secondary schools, the government and (Education) Ministry is duty bound to promote respect to these minority groups," said Sha'ani in The Malay Mail today.

"They (JMM) can have their opinions but campaigning against certain groups of people is wrong as it may result in violence against them."

Last year, the police declared a ban on Seksualiti Merdeka, an annual festival celebrating the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity that has been held since 2008.

Malaysia

Reader's Comments

1. 2012-04-11 23:02
Malaysia. Truly fucking horrible.
2. 2012-04-12 00:06
3. 2012-04-12 00:07
I don't give a rat's ass whether they're pro-or anti-gay...if you lived there long enough you;ll know both are actually on the same side of the (anti)gay camp , anyway.
4. 2012-04-12 00:13
Yes, sadly I agree that Malaysia is truly fucking horrible. So sorry to say this but it's really those religious parties are the ones truly fucking horrible and fucking hypocrites who pretend that they're truly saints ! I'm really so ashamed right now to be called a Malaysian, especially when religion are the main cause for all of this. Malaysia, multicultural and race my ass ! All nothing but sweet talks and fancy slogans by the government ! Hopefully a higher power will be able to intervene any further discrimination and damage to human rights in Malaysia :-(
5. 2012-04-12 01:55
I think I've said this before and say this again. It's really simple.

They have loads of shit in their own backyard...
So they think the next best thing to do is to shift the focus on the gays and muslims who drink and hold hands in public. LOL

It's quite effective if you think about it.
6. 2012-04-12 06:12
Nothing meaningful they can truly against.

The actions would not decrease the number of gay people, but may lead more misunderstandings and doubts.

The solution should be focusing on especially educating youngsters to establish the right sexual values, but absolutely not against or try to stupidly avoid it, it's not going to work.
Comment edited on 2012-04-12 06:14:21
7. 2012-04-12 08:52
Malaysia is a country where the government fights for the rights of the majority contrary to other places where people rally for minority rights! This is not surprising because it is run by assholes who know nothing except to squander the country's wealth.

The statistic that 3 in 10 malaysian guys are gay is not correct and yet these asshole running the country believe that's the gospel truth.. Even the DPM who is not learned can utter shit like gay guys need counselling.. can you believe that he is not aware that homosexuality is already removed from the list of diseases decades ago!

These assholes including the DPM (famous for corruption in the state of Johor) and the information minister above (who sexually molested his maid) who are the scum heads of massive corruption and cronyism should the ONES who require psychological behavioural therapy !
8. 2012-04-12 08:52
Malaysia is a country where the government fights for the rights of the majority contrary to other places where people rally for minority rights! This is not surprising because it is run by assholes who know nothing except to squander the country's wealth.

The statistic that 3 in 10 malaysian guys are gay is not correct and yet these asshole running the country believe that's the gospel truth.. Even the DPM who is not learned can utter shit like gay guys need counselling.. can you believe that he is not aware that homosexuality is already removed from the list of diseases decades ago!

These assholes including the DPM (famous for corruption in the state of Johor) and the information minister above (who sexually molested his maid) who are the scum heads of massive corruption and cronyism should the ONES who require psychological behavioural therapy !
9. 2012-04-12 09:10
The LGBT in Malaysia and elsewhere are living in an interesting times. Imagine 10-20 years ago few were aware of their existence, people didnt't even dare to mention the homosexual word or without the "red faces". First was the infamous sodomy trial, followed by the first wave of internet generation now in their 30s or 40s, and then the "Ugly Betty" and "Glee" like on popular mainstream TV and now we are living through the smartphone revolution. This is the best of time. At lest the the public has general became much more tolerant than the politicians, and right now better to be hated than ignored.
10. 2012-04-12 10:56
musilin country? no wonder...
11. 2012-04-12 11:29
This is repulsive! This goes to show how stupid and ignorant this people are. When they say "promote good values", what do they mean by that!? These people are fueled with hate and hunger.
12. 2012-04-12 12:54
What a distorted bizarro-world that must be to grow up in.
13. 2012-04-12 13:59
They're BOURGEOIS PIGS!
14. 2012-04-12 18:13
Im so ashamed to be staying in this country... This is the life that we as gay has to go through in a muslim country like this...
I cant imagine nor see my future in this country.. I cant even see a life in this country..
I just hope that in another few years time i will have the opportunity to leave this country...
15. 2012-04-12 23:02
It is the scourge of the perverse triangle Judeo/Christian/Islamic barbaric ideas.
16. 2012-04-13 00:36
I see it as a call for the LGBT community in Malaysia to step up and speak out. They are out there. How can you have pride and undo prejudice when not only is being an open member of the LGB (T's are definitely out already) community is a minority within a minority whereas the rest insist on having a "don't shake the tree" attitude?
17. 2012-04-13 09:22
Anti-gay rallies are allowed and promoted by the government whilst those demanding for a less fraudulent and fairer electoral system were clamped down with undue force and violence...

Like 5 above has said, those leading the current government have loads of skeletons in their closets and slowly they are surfacing.. One way to divert public attention from their shit is to pick on LGBT and make a mountain out of a molehill.

The only way is to flush out these assholes in the coming elections and appoint the opposition leader DSAI to be the next PM. I am confident that he is the only person who can restore the rights of the LBGT in Malaysia! So malaysian LGBT out there please vote wisely!
18. 2012-04-13 09:22
Anti-gay rallies are allowed and promoted by the government whilst those demanding for a less fraudulent and fairer electoral system were clamped down with undue force and violence...

Like 5 above has said, those leading the current government have loads of skeletons in their closets and slowly they are surfacing.. One way to divert public attention from their shit is to pick on LGBT and make a mountain out of a molehill.

The only way is to flush out these assholes in the coming elections and appoint the opposition leader DSAI to be the next PM. I am confident that he is the only person who can restore the rights of the LBGT in Malaysia! So malaysian LGBT out there please vote wisely!
19. 2012-04-14 11:07
What is the LGBT "problem" anyway? I think we should be told.....

Malaysia makes itself a laughing stock in the eyes of the world when its leaders pronounce on trivia like this. Havn't they got more important things to worry about? Like getting re-elected in September? Oh, now I get it - he's going for the homophobic "family values" vote.

As a recent poster campaign on London buses says "Some people are gay - get over it!"

And don't just blame minority Islamic groups for intolerance either. An anti-gay Christian group has tried to respond with its own London bus poster campaign promoting psychotherapy to "cure" gays but the Mayor of London has banned it! Well done Boris!

Malaysia boleh? Until its leaders unlock the Malaysian rakyat's free spirit and preach real tolerance of diversity their dreams of Wawasan 2020 and 1 Malaysia will remain just that, a dream. "Fully developed nations" have the confidence to embrace social diversity - thats one of the core values of a fully developed nation - not how many cars a family owns.
Comment #20 was deleted by its author on 2012-04-14 13:59
21. 2012-04-14 14:12
"However, he said the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture "still reserved the right to select content suitable for the general public given that Malaysia is a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country".

I do not buy this reason. New York, London and Toronto are far more in multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural city in the world. Do they have to eliminate so called gay bla bla bla?

Please use one straight forward reason. It is simply due to Islam/Christian/..... Nothing to do with other issues.

#14. You are right. Leave when there is a chance.
22. 2012-04-14 16:48
Well, apparently I believe there are a lot of gays or straight-males-who-enjoy-anal in the Government of Malaysia. These mother fuckers are just envious that LGBT people are dangerously fabulous, intellectual and just gay!
23. 2012-04-14 23:03
hard to believe these anti gay people in malaysia are living on the same planet as us canadians who are more tolerant of our fellow human beings
24. 2012-04-15 13:02
If the education minister can be so ignorant , no prizes for guessing the state of education in the country .
25. 2012-04-15 14:37
At this moment- Sunday May 15, 1.30 pm - there are 2,336 Malaysians on line at GR of a total of 34,688 users. How in hell will the government of Malaysia hide or convert them.

Perhaps those 34,688 should also hold a rally. I dare you!
26. 2012-04-16 02:03
No. 24, did you even read what the deputy education minister said?

I think what he has said is about as 'supportive' as an education minister can say in that climate. I think he deserves some credit as well as the newspaper that ran the story. They could have just ignored it...

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