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Malaysian states look at tough anti-gay laws

Mon 21 Nov 2011 In: International News

Two Malaysian states are considering laws that could punish gay Muslims and perhaps even gay rights supporters with prison sentences. Penang and Malacca, which retain a colonial-era penal code criminalising sodomy, are considering even stricter laws against. "Homosexuality is against Islam. Men should look for women, not men. So that's why we don't want to follow this activity promoted by Western countries," Mohamad Ali Rustam, chief minister of the southern Malacca state has told AFP. "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," he said/ Rustam said 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", and the sentence could range from counselling, to a fine or a jail term. Eastern Pahang state has also reportedly proposed a similar law, where the state's top Islamic scholar Abdul Rahman Osman was quoted by The Star Daily as saying such a law was necessary to stop "deviant sexual orientation." The proposition comes shortly after police banned an annual gay rights festival in Malaysia, because it "could create disharmony". Muslims, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people, are subject to both criminal laws and Islamic laws for civil matters. Malaysian laws already allow the government to deport visiting foreign Cabinet ministers or diplomats, should they be gay. In 2001, then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad cautioned gay ministers and officials of foreign countries against bringing their partners into the country. In 2010, the Malaysian Film Censorship Board announced it would only allow depiction of homosexual characters as long as the characters "repent or die".    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 21st November 2011 - 11:14am

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