Describing the numbers as “scary”, Datuk Baharum Mohamad, an UMNO/Barisan Nasional MP, told the country’s Parliament on Wednesday that three in ten men in the country were gay, and called on the government to establish a gay rehabilitation centre to prevent same-sex relationships from getting rampant in the country.
Datuk Baharum (BN-Sekijang) said the centre should offer suitable treatment and therapy for those involved to leave and avoid homosexual activities.
"We have to find a solution to combat these activities from getting rampant just like the efforts we take to combat drugs.”
“A study has found that, right now, three out of 10 men in Malaysia are gay. This is scary,” he said.
Sources or details of the study was not cited nor identified by local media. It is not clear whether Baharum intended ‘rehabilitation’ to be voluntary.
Responding to a question about what action can be taken against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim said action can only be taken against Muslims under the Syariah Criminal Offences Act 1997. She added that action can be taken for offences such as prostitution, sodomy and pimping. (Watch NTV7 video.)
Section 377 of Malaysia’s penal code however outlaws same-sex sexual relations as well as oral sex between opposite-sex partners.
"Various efforts have and are being made by the government with the cooperation of ministries and related NGOs to support and spread the Cairo Declaration regarding human rights in Islam, which is clearly against LGBT."
"Secondly, to create greater awareness on the edict with regards to LGBT through the media, seminars, forums and also the publication of leaflets," said Dr Mashitah.
Last year, news that the Terengganu Education Department had sent 66 schoolboys with ‘effeminate’ tendencies to a boot camp to intervene before the boys “reach the point of no return” (meaning before they "become" gay or transgender) drew widespread outrage. After running for four years largely without problems, the annual Seksualiti Merdeka festival was banned by the police last November.