KUALA LUMPUR ― An international human rights watchdog called on the government to take steps to protect the rights and safety of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, following a rising wave of homophobia and transphobia.
Amnesty International said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration must prevent threats and attacks against the community, and probe such attacks if they happen and bring those responsible to justice.
“Malaysia has a troubling track record of discrimination and abuse against LGBT people, who have faced prejudice and backlash from conservative movements, religious authorities and the government over many years,” it said in a statement.
“Amnesty International is concerned that this latest wave of homophobia and transphobia will result in further human rights abuses against LGBT people in the country.”
It pointed to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa’s refusal to overtly support the community, and the backlash and threats that resulted in Youth and Sports Ministry temporary aide Numan Afifi’s resignation.
It also highlighted PAS MP Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali’s statement the LGBT is “infringing on society’s rights and norms of humanity”, and remarks from Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, who labelled LGBT as a “bigger issue” than child marriage.
“Amnesty International reminds the new government that in their election manifesto, they committed to enhancing diversity and inclusiveness at all levels of society,” it said.
It said it had published an “Eight-Point Human Rights Agenda” for the new government before the polls.
It also renewed its call for Putrajaya to abolish federal and state laws used to criminalise the LGBT people.