KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi told foreign press in Germany he did not think there are homosexuals in Malaysia.
According to German news agency Deutsche Welle (DW), Mohamaddin made the remark when asked whether Malaysia was tolerant of gays and Jews.
“I don't think we have anything like that in our country,” the minister was quoted as saying after being pressed on the matter ahead of the opening of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin tourism fair.
An aide to the minister later suggested he was echoing the federal government’s stance that the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT) are not officially recognised.
Bernama reported that Malaysia is hoping that its participation in the ITB in Berlin from March 6 till March 10 will help it reach the target of attracting 30 million tourists by 2020.
On January 27 this year, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stripped Malaysia from hosting its world championships in July over the refusal of the Malaysian government to allow Israeli swimmers into the country.
As with most conservative-leaning nations, Malaysia does not accept the LGBT who regularly complain of persecution by religious authorities.