KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 ― An international human rights watchdog today urged Putrajaya 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.
“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 said in a statement.
It pointed to the Minister for 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.
Amnesty also highlighted PAS MP Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali’s statement, that the LGBT is “infringing on society’s rights and norms of humanity”, and remarks from Kelantan Deputy Mentri 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.
The watchdog said it had published an Eight-Point Human Rights Agenda for the new government prior to the polls.
It also renewed its call for Putrajaya to abolish federal and state laws which are used to criminalise the LGBT people, and to ensure authorities do not violate the rights of the LGBT through arbitrary arrests, detention, violence, ill-treatment, violations of privacy, and discrimination.
“The authorities must commit to ensuring that everyone in Malaysia is able to exercise their rights, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics,” it added.