Putrajaya says ‘yes’ to stronger Suhakam, but ‘no’ to LGBT rights

Dr Mahathir says LGBT rights and same-sex marriages will remain unaccepted by Malaysians, despite their acceptance elsewhere. — AFP pic
Dr Mahathir says LGBT rights and same-sex marriages will remain unaccepted by Malaysians, despite their acceptance elsewhere. — AFP pic

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 21 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced today that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will be strengthened by an amendment of 1999.

He said he agreed with a number of points made by the commission, but claimed that some values as advocated by human rights body, such as lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT) rights, are allegedly opposed to Malaysian value system.

“However we reminded them our value system are not the same with the West. They are more free [than Malaysia] but some of their values cannot be accepted by us,” Dr Mahathir said at the press conference here.

Suhakam had earlier presented a paper at the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting.

Dr Mahathir said LGBT rights and same-sex marriages would remain unaccepted by Malaysians, despite their acceptance elsewhere.

“Such as the concept of family, which remains the same. That is a [heterosexual] couple with their own [biological] children, or even adopting children.

“But two men or two women is not considered a family,” Dr Mahathir said.

This comes amid Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s criticism against Malaysia’s anti-sodomy laws as an archaic remnant of British colonisers, as Singapore debates to repeal its own similar provision.

Homosexuality is not exactly illegal in Malaysia, but anal sex is punishable under Section 377A of the Penal Code. Shariah laws also penalise transgenderism, and in some cases homosexual relations.

Earlier this month, Dr Mahathir had spoken up against the public caning punishment in Terengganu against two women charged over attempted lesbian sex, saying the move had tarnished the Islam.

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