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Gay Rights in Malaysia

Campaigning for gay rights


Promoting repression...

Malaysian government censors potraits of LGBT activists at an art exhibition

Link Here10th August 2018
Full story: Gay Rights in Malaysia...Campaigning for gay rights
Malaysia's religious affairs minister has ordered portraits of LGBT activists to be removed from an arts festival in Penang.

Portraits of activists Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik, who champion the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, were taken down on the orders of Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Dr Mujahid said promoting LGBT activities was not in line with the new Pakatan Harapan administration's policies. He told reporters at the Parliament lobby: I was informed of the exhibition that showcased their pictures, along with the rainbow pride flag, in a public gallery.

I contacted the state government to check if the claim is true, and I have consistently repeated in Parliament that we do not support the promotion of LGBT culture in Malaysia.

Ms Nisha and Mr Pang's portraits were removed from the month-long Stripes and Strokes exhibition at the George Town Festival in Penang. They were portrayed holding the Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia's flag, in prints captured by photographer Mooreyameen Mohamad.

The exhibition sponsor, Datuk Vinod Sekhar, criticised the decision:

How could this happen in Penang? I expected more from the Penang government. We should be enlightening people, changing their mindsets - not reacting to people who are close-minded.


8th April

Updated: Against the Norms of an Intolerant Society...

Malaysia bans all gay characters from state TV

Malaysia has issued a directive to state-owned TV stations ordering them to ban and remove LGBT characters, and says it will expand the order to privately owned stations,

The Information Department has banned shows featuring gay characters, Deputy Information, Communications and Homophobic Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz confirmed. He said the ban was effective immediately but would only start with state-owned TV and radio stations.

If it means cancelling some of the shows, so be it, he told The Star, adding that the decision was to curb the influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

He also said the decision will be expanded to cover privately-owned stations as well as satellite TV providers. As for foreign productions, he said the Censorship Board will remove episodes from running TV shows and bar movies with gay characters from being screened locally.

The directive appeared on the Information Department Facebook page:

Effective immediately, radio and TV stations are asked to stop screening shows which feature gay, effeminate men as well as characters that go against the norm of a religious society because this encourages and promotes LGBT now.

Update: Blather

8th April 2012. See  article from

In the face of justified criticism of Malaysia's homophobic ban an gays on TV, officials have been blathering about the ban, simultaneously both denying and confirming it.

Malaysia has no plan to ban state media programmes featuring LGBT characters ...BUT... retains the right to select suitable content for the public, officials have 'clarified'.

With the message stirring up a hot debate online, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yaim and his deputy sought to explain the official stance only to cause much more confusion.

There is no ban on any artistic performance by any segment of society, including those acronymed as soft men, Rais wrote on Twitter. The ministry ...HOWEVER... reserves the right to select contents suitable to the general public since the country is a multi-racial, religious and cultural one, he added.

Rais's deputy Maglin Dennis D'Cruz added to the contradictory government bollox. Whilst onfirming the ban as a mistake, he noted there is indeed a directive and a guideline will be produced to avoid putting LGBT characters on screen or the air waves.


7th March

Update: Queer With Fear in Malaysia...

Police ban on gay arts festival upheld by High Court

Malaysia's High Court has dismissed a bid by campaigners to challenge a police ban on a gay arts festival, in a rare legal case involving gay rights.

Organizers of the Sexual Independence festival had hoped to overturn a ban imposed last November on the event, which would have featured musical performances, talks on sexuality issues and a poster exhibition. The festival was meant to promote dialogue about gay issues in Malaysia.

Police ordered activists to scrap the event after Muslim organizations claimed it would disrupt public order.

High Court Judge Rohana Yusuf ruled in favor of government lawyers who said police were empowered to declare the ban.

Festival organizers said they would appeal the verdict.


17th November

Truly Homophobic...

Two Malaysian states push for laws to imprison muslim gays

Two Malaysian states are considering passing laws that could punish gay Muslims and gay rights supporters with prison sentences, a regional minister told AFP.

Homosexuality is against Islam. So that's why we don't want to follow this activity promoted by Western countries, Mohamad Ali Rustam, chief minister of southern Malacca state said: People are talking about human rights, but this is not right... It's our duty (to stop it) but we cannot take action because there is no law.

State Islamic authorities were considering drafting a new law that could charge in Islamic courts those who engaged in homosexual activities and free sex activities , the minister said, without elaborating further.

The politician is a member of Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling United Malays National Organisation party.

Eastern Pahang state has also reportedly proposed a similar law .


7th November

Obediently Banned...

Malaysia's religious books censor bans reprehensibly titled sex guide

Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned the Obedient Wives Club's (OWC) controversial sex guide book with immediate effect. The book was written by Hatijan Aam, who is also the founder of the OWC.

Those found in possession of the reprehensibly titled, Seks Islam, Perangi Yahudi Untuk Kembalikan Seks Islam Kepada Dunia ( Islamic Sex, Fighting Jews to Return Islamic Sex to the World ) could be fined up to RM5,000 (S$2,000). Those found reproducing the book for the purpose of offering it for sale could be jailed up to three years or fined not exceeding RM20,000, or both.

The Home Ministry's religious book censor, grandiosely titled, Al-Quran Text and Publishing Control Division Secretary, Abdul Aziz Md Nor, said the book had been banned to the public.

Aziz said the first reason was the book was released by an organisation that had clear links with the banned al-Arqam. As the movement has been banned, anything related to it, such as the club and the book, are also banned. He said the contents of the book also violated Jakim's Islamic publication material censorship guideline. Based on our investigation and Jakim's findings, we must ban the book, he said.

See  more about the book from


5th November

Queer Fear...

Malaysian gay festival cancelled after whinges from deputy PM and religious groups

Police ordered gay rights activists in Malaysia to scrap an annual arts festival aimed at fighting discrimination.

The Sexual Independence festival has been held under low-key circumstances in Kuala Lumpur since 2008, but growing awareness about the event has lead to the usual intolerance from politicians and religious leaders.

This year's five-day festival scheduled to open on 9th November at a private arts center is themed Queer Without Fear . It was to have featured musical performances of queer anthems sung by fierce local singers and drag divas who know what it means to love out loud and proud, organizers said.

But after whinges by the deputy prime minister and plans by several Muslim groups to protest, police ordered that the event to be canceled.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had described the event as inappropriate and a waste of time, according to Bernama.

The festival's sponsors and supporters included the Malaysian chapter of Amnesty International, the country's main grouping of lawyers and other human rights organizations.


20th November

Update: Wracked with Remorse...

Malaysia's first gay film is a depressing affair

Malaysia's first gay romance movie opens with playful scenes of a bare-chested male couple massaging each other on a beach at night — but their euphoria soon evaporates in a story that seeks to placate both conservative government censors and contemporary audiences hungry for edgy material.

Dalam Botol , or In A Bottle , is a Malay-language film about a man who gets a sex change operation because he thought it would satisfy his male lover, but ends up regretting it.

The film earned applause from movie bloggers invited to its first public screening, three months before its scheduled nationwide release.

Even five years ago, we wouldn't have been able to make it, Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, the film's producer and writer, said after the screening: I'm glad that at this time, at this moment, we can show it.

Censors now say depictions of homosexuality like those in Dalam Botol are no longer barred — as long as being gay isn't condoned.

If the movie had tried to glamorize the lifestyle of a gay person, it would be against our current standard guidelines, censorship board chief Mohamad Hussain Shafie told The Associated Press this week: But the character repents in the end. We can say it is in line with our social values.

But the film takes few risks — its heterosexual male leads never kiss. The most explicit acknowledgment that the characters have sex is when one gets out of bed in his underwear while the other sleeps, presumably naked, beneath a blanket.

Nevertheless, there are raw, poignant scenes that capture the realities of being gay in a country where homosexuality is effectively outlawed.

In Dalam Botol, the main character is wracked with remorse after his operation prompts his partner to abandon him.

It's not an anti-gay movie. I believe it's not wrong to be gay, but it's wrong to have a sex change, Raja Azmi said.

Some gay men have mixed feelings about the film. I want to see gay characters in local movies, but it's wrong to make it seem like we're all so tragic and depressed, said a 30-year-old financial analyst who asked to be identified only as Mark. Of course, I hope that someday, our society will be open enough to have a Malaysian movie about two gay men who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after.

The film — which has been approved for a February 2011 release to audiences older than 18 — was carefully vetted by censors from the start. Raja Azmi submitted her script to the board before filming it. She was told to change the original title — Anu Dalam Botol, or Penis in a Bottle — and remove an intimate bedroom conversation between the male characters.


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