KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — The Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) called for the cancellation of a gender and sexuality conference in Kuala Lumpur organised by a Sri Lanka organisation.
Jakim director-general Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim said the forum scheduled in October promoted the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement, noting that the conference also does not feature any local speakers or collaboration with any Malaysian organisations.
“Instead, it features presenters from among international transgender activists, that is from Sri Lanka and the US.
“For Jakim, this activity clearly promotes LGBT in Malaysia, and is against Islam and the Federal Constitution. It is also against the statement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) on September 22 2018, in which he stressed that Malaysia does not accept the practice of the LGBT lifestyle,” he said on his Facebook page, calling on authorities to take “suitable action”.
The website of the 2nd International Conference on Gender and Sexuality 2019, organised by Sri Lanka conference organiser The International Institute of Knowledge Management, does not state the venue of the event, apart from its scheduled date between October 3 and 4 in Kuala Lumpur.
The chair of the event is Prof Shahana Rasool from the University of Johannesburg.
The academic conference would also feature the former Minister of Social Development from Oman, Sharifa Al Yahyai, who is also listed as an academic specialist in women’s studies and a board member of the Arab Women Foundation.
Sharifa and a US transgender activist Jessica Lynn are listed as keynote speakers in the event, with another Sri Lanka transgender activist, Bhoomi Harendran, is listed as its plenary speaker.
According to the Gender Studies Conference website, this is the second such academic event, and “academics, researchers and professionals with a particular interest in issues related to gender transformation and sexuality” are invited to send in their academic papers.
“Participants from various disciplines are invited, including but not limited to social work, sociology, political studies, psychology, anthropology, development studies, religion, communication, languages, cultural studies and law. The conference will be held from 03rd – 04th October 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia under the theme ‘Re-thinking Gender and Sexuality: What do we know? What have we learned? What’s next?’” the website further stated.
One of the scheduled panel discussions is on LGBTQI+ rights, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex groups.
Sexual minorities have been subjected to increased scrutiny and remain an oppressed group in Malaysia.
In January, a 39-year-old trans woman was allegedly murdered and found dead in Klang.
Last Christmas, four youths aged 21 and below were charged with the murder of a 32-year-old trans woman in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang.