Related story: "LGBTs, pluralism, liberalism – all these 'isms' are against Islam and it is compulsory for us to fight these," declared Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Thursday, according to independent news website, The Malaysian Insider. He was speaking at an event comprising 11,000 Islamic religious leaders and mosque committee members from around Malaysia. -- Malaysia PM: LGBTs, liberalism, pluralism are enemies of Islam
Ahmad Hafidz Baharom Alam Shah, an openly gay social commentator in Malaysia, was asked by Fridae to share his insights and thoughts about the spate of anti-gay bashing by Malaysian politicans:
This is all political, since it is a well known fact that no party wants to advocate or even discuss LGBT rights until after the next Malaysian General Election due to be called at any moment as the current government's mandate ends in March 2013. Till then, expect the bashing to continue as politicians from both sides try to win votes from the Malaysian Malay majority, which is roughly 60 percent of the population.
At this point in time, I would ask local LGBTs to be patient and read between the lines. On one hand you have both parties bashing the community, but on another, there is one working to abolish the laws which is labelled as archaic and used merely to tarnish a certain politician's image.
Malaysians in general are not ready to openly support LGBT rights, speak up for it, let alone to be pro-LGBT on a political platform. We're not there yet.
I do have hope that Malaysians are not so easily fooled to see this as an advocacy or encouragement to be violent against members of the LGBT community. But there is a chance that people could misread these statements as such.
What can Malaysians can do: Register to vote and vote wisely
I know some atheists would be pissed off with this answer, but prayers, thoughts and wishes from those overseas made public, as well as moves to pressure our local leaders to consider LGBT rights is good enough. Talk about us, write about us, and pray for us.
As for locals who wish to support us, if you're over 21, please register to vote
One side now wants to maintain the status quo of which sodomy is a federal crime while another wishes to abolish this because they think it is archaic and abused purely to arrest politicians.
If you are true to yourself and know that you are in fact a member of the LGBT community, you know who to vote for.
“The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office” Will Rogers
“Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.”
William E. Simon
Take note of the above my dear countrymen/women....
Neither coalitions have made any (positive) promises to the LGBT community — there is little we can hold them to then, as voters, if we don't demand these of them now. You want my mandate, you earn it. I don't just assume one will be the better party in terms of LGBT rights just because they have not been in power (yet?).
The only party with an official stand on anything LGBT-related is Parti Sosialis Malaysia, in regards to Seksualiti Merdeka. That the event should not be discriminated against on the basis that the human rights of "minority groups" shouldn't be ignored. Btw, that is not the same as being for LGBT rights, but it's a start.
All these sunshine and rainbows hinting at how things will definitely change when PR is in power is tiring. There are some things that PR is better at than BN, yes — but LGBT rights is *not* one of them. JAIS, under the Selangor PR government, banned Irshad Manji's book. Is that anything we don't expect of JAIS when BN is in power?
If you want to make LGBT issues a personal concern of yours as a voter, don't be lazy. Talk to the candidates in your area. Ask them where they stand on your rights. Do not assume anything from any politician.
Meanwhile it's now 10 months since the hearing in Singapore for leave to proceed on the 377a constitutional question, and still no word on the decision.
If Anwar's camp wins, it'll be by a marginal lead, which means that he'll have to fight very hard to maintain his position as the new top dog. In order to stay in power, he'll have to prove his worth by uncovering the skeletons in order to fulfill his promises to the voters. Once the race in skeleton-uncovering accelerates, Anwar himself will also be scrutinized by his opponents, who comprise a powerful circle of political elites. Only in this scenario can the vintage mud in the system be unearthed.
When both opposition political camps are in a close fight, more power will be shifted towards the people. The reason why politicians in the West need to court gay votes is most of them are in close fights. The 3-5% gay votes in an electorate could make or break a ruling party.
While neither camps openly supports LGBT rights, the leader of one of them supports the review of s377. Anwar had told reporters that he thinks that s377 (that criminalises gay sex) is outdated, even though he doesn't think gay rights should be promoted. Najib, on the other hand, declared that LGBT are Islam's ENEMIES. It's clear which camp is more friendly, and which camp harbors more enmity, towards the LGBT.
I see. I will share an article that will look at this more critically on Monday, when it is published.*
Meanwhile, here's a related article. Suaram condemns BOTH pakatan and BN for being homophobic coalitions from a human rights perspective:
Suaram: Political leaders must make a stand on LGBT rights
Both parties have more incentive and political will to *discriminate against* LGBTs to gain whatever political mileage they perceive. And why not? The conservative are presumed to support these statements, the LGBT communities are waiting for things to magically get better.
If indeed it is a Pakatan slim majority victory that you hope for — it doesn't make sense to claim that things improve for LGBT rights when they come into power. And risk losing their majority?
You vote for them now, and they win, you are telling them they are on the right track to getting more votes. That, is how political will works.
If you are willing to compromise on your rights as an LGBT voter, do not be surprised/offended when your representatives in Parliament do as well. That is how democracy works.
*This is the link: Examining Anwar’s inconsistency
http://www.thenutgraph.com/examining-anwaraes/ — an article that examines how Anwar Ibrahim's stand on homosexuality is "NO DIFFERENT" from Najib Razak's.
"[…] this is perhaps what makes Anwar’s stand even more disappointing. Since 1998, he has had numerous opportunities to develop a credible vision for a democratic Malaysia in which we can respect difference, no matter how distasteful some might find this. Instead, he continues offering an alternative that is not different from the BN’s – on this score, at least."
I do not advocate any compromising. But the political reality in Malaysia is that, in the absence of a strong contender other than Anwar, it's necessary to choose between the lesser of the two evils. In political science, the lesser-evil theory states that, between two bad choices, if one isn't as bad as the other it should be chosen over the other that is the greater threat. Voting Anwar should be viewed as a tactic to, first, overthrow the worse of the two evils and, second, to shake up the status quo so as to put an end to govt complacency. When a coalition is in power continuously for decades, complacency usually sets in. Voting for another opposition which is a stronger advocate for human rights isn't wise as it'd split the votes against the ruling party, which is the worst of the 3, and would probably result in BN being returned to power.