Pressure from “unnamed political parties” is very likely to see a clause offering discrimination protection to LGBT in Malaysia dropped from a proposed ‘National Harmony’ bill.
A sexual orientation and identity clause which prohibits unfair discrimination on grounds of gender has been blocked according to National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) deputy chairman Lim Chee Wee, who heads the council’s law and policy committee, who said that this was due to immense political pressure from several political parties.
”As a matter of principle, most of us want it to be there. “Why is LGBT considered a bad word? “Some segments in the Malaysian society want to demonise the community,” Lim said during a press conference.
He stressed that NUCC strongly felt that the clause should be left in the Bill.
“It is a question of where you want to expressly include the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Gender itself can be defined to mean sexual orientation. So, either we drop this and allow the judges to decide, or we include it and let it be clear.”
Lim said even if the Bill was passed with the aforementioned specification removed from the clause, a judge could still extend the definition of gender to include sexual orientation.
He also pointed out that Malaysia’s Penal Code does not criminalise the LGBT community. “… only the act of sodomy. You can be a member of the LGBT community but not commit 377A”.
Under the proposed Bill, clause 7(1)(ii) highlights that the government and all persons shall not unfairly discriminate against any person on the grounds of gender, including sexual orientation and identity.
However, this goes directly against the policies of the governing party which include demonising, and persecuting the country’s LGBT community. The Prime Minister, and other senior figures in Malaysia, have frequently plainly stated that “there is no place in Malaysia for LGBT”.