KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The government should bolster further rehabilitation courses and Mukhayyam programmes by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) to rehabilitate the LGBT community, said PAS’ Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz.

The Bachok MP, when debating the royal address in Parliament today, said efforts by certain quarters, including those by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) looking at the feasibility of legislative and policy amendments to approve and affirm the LGBT community, was something worrying for Malaysia.

“As such, I am of the view that programmes under Jakim like the Mukhayyam and religious studies need to be bolstered further to guide them back onto the correct path, and not in the opposite direction which is to condone this community.

“It is sensible for such programmes to be given more attention by the government,” he said.

Mohamad Abduh said boosting such initiatives would only spur unity within society.

Conversion therapy which consists of psychological treatment or spiritual counselling to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual is widely seen by medical and scientific community as potentially harmful and a form of pseudoscience.

The practice is opposed and has been legally challenged, or even banned, in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Israel, Lebanon, Malta, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He then touched on a study initiated by Suhakam in June this year, entitled “Research on Feasibility of Having Legislation on The Recognition of a Third Gender in Malaysia”, saying it was unbecoming of a body that champions human rights to initiate such studies here.

“Is sexual orientation and gender identity, which are the main topics of interest surrounding the LGBT community, subjected to what is deemed as basic human rights?” he questioned.

Mohamad Abduh then asserted the UN Commission on Human Rights that was established in 1946, which Malaysia is part of, does not have any binding effect on the country and its legislation.

“Since when does our country need to submit completely to the UN Charter and its provisions under the 1946 agreement; and since when is this Charter binding on the practices and legislation of the country so that it follows all the requirements of the international community without considering the religions and cultures practised by Asia and our country?

“This is what we are worried about, about the future generations of the country.

“Little by little, normalisation takes place within society although the law does not allow it, where those from the Mak Nyah community begin to surface and are active on social media without feeling guilty when they dress as a woman,” he said using the local community community’s preferred term for the transgender community.

“Are the country’s laws too lenient to curb such activities these days?” he questioned.

Suhakam in June this year had sourced for researchers for their study on recognising the third gender, which was unsurprisingly condemned by PAS, Jakim and the Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations.