The Malaysian state of Malacca has said it will amend its state Islamic enactment to prosecute gays and lesbians by applying the same type of Shariah legal mechanism used against deviant Muslim sects.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said Wednesday 9 November:
“We will revise the current enactment to specifically deal with homosexuals and lesbians in the state, including groups that promote such uncanny sex.”
It was needed, he said, because no specific law at present exists to prosecute such groups.
“We will suggest the enactment to also cover bisexuals and transsexuals,” he said, adding that action could also be taken against any non-governmental organisation promoting and supporting such sexual practices.
“We don’t want such unsavoury culture creeping in and damaging the moral fabric of our society,” Mohd Ali said.
Mohd Ali also attacked the group Sisters in Islam, calling on them to drop the word “Islam” from their name as he claimed they had been “frequently issuing contradicting and confusing statements on Islam”. Sisters in Islam is one of the groups who supported the banned ‘Seksualiti Merdeka’ festival.
Seksualiti Merdeka has been held since 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, and represents a coalition of Malaysian NGOs (including Malaysian Bar Council, SUARAM, Empower, PT Foundation, United Nations, Amnesty International) and individuals. Apart from the annual festival, they also organize workshops, talks, film screenings and letter writings. It was banned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall who vowed to scupper any attempts at reviving or promoting the “immoral” event.
Community still has prominent supporters
Fallout from the ban continues after police called in for questioning a number of prominent supporters of the event.
Malaysia Chronicle said that lying behind the action was rival Malay parties Umno and PAS “trying to out-Islamize each other over the [banned] event.” There have been a number of noisy protests against Seksualiti Merdeka organised by the parties and Islamist groups.
Reacting to the backlash, Marina Mahathir, the high-profile daughter of ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, has warned the authorities and “troublemakers” alike not to make scapegoats of Bar Council chairman Datuk S. Ambiga and steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez and Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik, all of whom the police called in.
At a heated press conference on Monday she said:
“For the struggle, ask me. I have been defending the LGBT community’s rights for over 20 years now. In fact, I defend the rights of all who have been discriminated against, the poor and everyone else. So if there is any discrimination or violence against anyone, I will continue to defend their rights. That’s it. Do you understand?”
Image Seksualiti Merdeka
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