Recently, the Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, issued a statement about the government’s intention to amend the Syariah Courts Act 355 to push for more severe punishments for the LGBT community.
Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women (KLSCAH Women) is deeply disappointed and dissatisfied with this and firmly opposes the violation of their rights in the name of religion.
KLSCAH Women believes that this law amendment will encourage harassment and violence against LGBT groups, placing them in far more dangerous situations, which goes against the government’s duty to protect citizens from discrimination and violations of human rights.
Society, in general, believes that LGBT people not only violate the laws of nature or moral standards but even regard [their orientation] as a mental illness and has marginalised them for a long time.
However, scientific communities have already proven that this is not mental illness, but a natural phenomenon. On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality as a mental disorder and no longer considered sexual orientation to be any form of disease.
As a cabinet member, Ahmad Marzuk should have a clearer understanding of the situation.
Moreover, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently suggested that Asean take a stronger stance against hate speech on gender and sexual orientation at the first Asean digital ministers meeting.
Many countries have also passed legislation to protect the rights of LGBT people. This poses a critical question to the Cabinet: Why hinder progress, be unwilling to face the facts, and try to impose your values on others?
LGBT people are neither against nature nor are they morally corrupt. As members of society, everyone should be given equal treatment and rights.
For this reason, KSLCAH Women asks Ahmad Mazruk to stop discriminating against LGBT people and in government spending. Inciting hatred based on sexual orientation not only violates the core values of openness and tolerance but also creates many social problems.
With the ongoing pandemic and floods, we hope Ahmad Marzuk prioritises matters and deal with the most pressing issues that concern the people first.
Ng Geok Chee is chairperson of KLSCAH Women