The Malaysian state of Malacca has said it will amend its state Islamic enactment to prosecute gays and lesbians by applying the same type of Shariah legal mechanism used against deviant Muslim sects.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said Wednesday 9 November:
It was needed, he said, because no specific law at present exists to prosecute such groups.
“We will suggest the enactment to also cover bisexuals and transsexuals,” he said, adding that action could also be taken against any non-governmental organisation promoting and supporting such sexual practices.
Mohd Ali also attacked the group Sisters in Islam, calling on them to drop the word “Islam” from their name as he claimed they had been "frequently issuing contradicting and confusing statements on Islam". Sisters in Islam are one of the groups who supported the banned 'Seksualiti Merdeka' festival.
Seksualiti Merdeka has been held since 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, and represents a coalition of Malaysian NGOs (including Malaysian Bar Council, SUARAM, Empower, PT Foundation, United Nations, Amnesty International) and individuals. Apart from the annual festival, they also organize workshops, talks, film screenings and letter writings. It was banned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall who vowed to scupper any attempts at reviving or promoting the “immoral” event.
Fallout from the ban continues after police called in for questioning a number of prominent supporters of the event.
Malaysia Chronicle said that lying behind the action was rival Malay parties Umno and PAS "trying to out-Islamize each other over the [banned] event." There have been a number of noisy protests against Seksualiti Merdeka organised by the parties and Islamist groups.
Reacting to the backlash, Marina Mahathir, the high-profile daughter of ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, has warned the authorities and "troublemakers" alike not to make Bar Council chairman Datuk S. Ambiga and steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez and Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik, who the police called in, scapegoats.
At a heated press conference on Monday she said:
She threatened to sue Umno-controlled TV3 for describing Seksualiti Merdeka as a "free sex festival".
Said Malaysia Chronicle:
The opposition People's Justice Party (PKR) of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has defended Seksualiti Merdeka.
PKR vice president N Surendran told Malaysia Chronicle:
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has also defended the festival, saying:
Seksualiti Merdeka’s organizers said:
We are Malaysian citizens who are being denied our rights to our identity and self-determination.
The false allegations and ill-intended remarks made to incite hate towards us are completely unjustified. They have further marginalized a group of Malaysians that have long suffered severe marginalization in society. As a United Nations Human Rights Council member, the Malaysian government should be ashamed for endorsing and encouraging such intimidation and scare tactics.