KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 ― Pahang is in danger of losing its secular nature if it follows Terengganu in publicly whipping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people under Shariah law, Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui said today.
The Pahang DAP representative expressed shock at the public caning of two women by the Terengganu Shariah High Court for same-sex relations and urged the government to defend the basic rights of every Malaysian and to stop the bullying of minority groups.
“DAP as one of the parties in a coalition government has always made diversity and secularism as the party ideology.
“We stand firmly on the separation of religion and state. We are against any organisations or individuals who oppress any group, including the LGBT, in the name of belief and religious values,” said Chow in a statement.
The Pahang DAP publicity secretary noted that the Pahang Islamic Religious Department has said it could follow Terengganu’s lead in caning LGBT individuals publicly, besides erecting sign boards throughout the state warning against LGBT activities.
He feared religious conservatives in Pahang will thus take advantage to pressure the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government to follow Terengganu’s lead.
“The caning has caught the attention of such organisations as Amnesty International, who opined the incident was a black mark for human rights in Malaysia.
“To safeguard the country’s global image, the PH (Pakatan Harapan) government must rectify the situation and resolve the case proactively,” Chow said.
Ministers have said that the PH federal government’s hands are tied as Shariah matters fall under state jurisdiction.
Chow urged Malaysia to abolish anti-LGBT laws like other nations.
“Although it is understandable that the majority of society is conservative and do not agree with the existence of LGBT, it is unreasonable to use any methods to isolate and oppress them since all human beings have the right to life and compassion,” Chow said, adding this also applied to other minority groups as well.