Malaysian netizens have criticised a minister’s move to use lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a diversion from the government’s poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary on Tuesday (19 January) said that the government is not ruling out the possibility of strengthening the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 to provide for harsher punishments against LGBT people.
Malaysian lawyer and human rights activist Michelle Yesudas pointed out the irrationality of targeting LGBT people in a time where the country is facing “a massive health crisis”.
“[P]eople can’t even order their food, riders are probably at risk of transmission with every turn, people are losing their jobs, rapidly decreasing beds for COVID-19 patients and you go after LGBT PEOPLE,” she tweeted.
#SiBodohKauDengarSini We are having a massive health crisis and people can’t even order their food, riders are probably at risk of transmission with every turn, people are losing their jobs, rapidly decreasing beds for COVID-19 patients and you go after LGBT PEOPLE. Irrational.
— Michelle Yesudas (@MichelleYesudas) January 19, 2021
The lawyer also branded the move as “ignorant policy-making”.
“If LGBT ppl are made to feel unsafe/stigmatized during COVID-19 and spaces are dangerous for them to access treatment, it impacts us ALL!” She stressed.
1. People need better social security, financial support
2. People are losing their jobs during the pandemic
Poor, ignorant policy-making.
If LGBT ppl are made to feel unsafe/stigmatized during COVID-19 and spaces are dangerous for them to access treatment, it impacts us ALL! https://t.co/EvdpBWEYWF
— Michelle Yesudas (@MichelleYesudas) January 19, 2021
Other netizens have similarly expressed their anger at how the government often perpetuates an anti-LGBT narrative “to detract from wider issues impacting the Rakyat that they’re also responsible for”.
“Instead of addressing concerns related to rakyat during this pandemic, you are playing the lgbt card to hide your government incompetency,” said one Twitter user.
it should be obvious to all of you now, whether you’re LGBT+ or not, that the government uses this anti-LGBT narrative to detract from wider issues impacting the Rakyat that they’re also responsible for. https://t.co/xi5u59L8uX
— Rihanna Sawayama (@heckisthis) January 19, 2021
— 𝕛𝕚𝕞𝕞𝕪 (@flittleberry) January 19, 2021
People who fail to see how LGBT is discrimated fails to see motivation behind such announcement. For everytime the government is not doing well, they would use LGBT as hostages to get the public attention away from their failure. https://t.co/vdDShh7BpK
— Ahmad Arcana (@Ahmad_arcana) January 19, 2021
what in the actual fuck, we’re literally in a pandemic and you’re worried about the lgbt??? go help people la https://t.co/QSoQNdRvNP
— Marmalade (@roadkillchump) January 19, 2021
The gov should stay clear of LGBT “issues” when
1. Covid cases run rampant.
2. Racial, gender and economic inequities are high.
3. Education at a HALT.
4. Businesses (and consequently rakyat) suffer losses.
5. Political instability.
Shut the fuck up and fix these problems first https://t.co/sOVJcdi6P1
— Rif 🌺 (@rifqifaisall) January 19, 2021
Many netizens also stood up for Malaysian LGBT people, saying that they are already legally unprotected in the country.
LGBT people in Malaysia pose no threat against the nation, they said.
Why the fuck Malaysian politicians obsessed with Lgbt people!
Lgbt ppl already getting discriminate,
you guys want add more discrimination towards lgbt people!
Malaysian politicians so fucked up they forgot lgbt are Malaysian citizens! Not criminals!
Lgbt rights is human rights! https://t.co/GOvDyBhG7r
— 🌊♛TheWeirdBoy♛🌊🇲🇾🏳️🌈 (@Danesh_Danny) January 19, 2021
Many work hard, including as front liners protecting the country during this pandemic, as pointed out by activist Pang Khee Teik.
LET’S REMEMBER our LGBT frontliners in Malaysia. Our LGBT doctors, nurses, cleaners, delivery people. They work so hard to protect this country even when the country refuses to protect them. And how do we thank them? By wanting to punish them even more. Why, Malaysia, why?
— Pang Khee Teik (@PangKheeTeik) January 19, 2021
— Mom of KL™️🇲🇾 #BantahDarurat (@amuse_gueule) January 19, 2021
Several netizens also brought up issues such as child marriage and paedophilia, both of which allegedly remain unaddressed in the country.
It is fine for rapists, pedophiles, abusers and murders to get away with their heavy sinful acts but shallow minded assholes think that being in LGBT community deserves much more hukuman than what ‘those’ received. Make it sense. LGBT does not bring any fucking harm. https://t.co/rcaM2W4JM0
— a (@b2004101_) January 19, 2021
y’all let pedophiles and rapists run rampant in the country but wanna punish innocent lgbt individuals… fuck off lol https://t.co/BAmgiX6QkS
— shay van buren (@maenasheryn) January 19, 2021
You’re letting rapists and pedophiles run rampant around the country but wanna give a harder punishment to innocent LGBT community? What the fuck? Fuck off. Just cease to exist already please. https://t.co/hlkgjVPtXI
— hange love me cuz I look like titan (@notatitan) January 19, 2021
Child marriage is still legal in Malaysia. Rapist doesn’t get enough punishments. Poverty, minimum wage… so much probs but u guys will only attack lgbt. This just shows how stupid yall can be https://t.co/JyWAgdyWhy
— shasikala (@shasikalaaaa) January 19, 2021
One netizen called instead for heavier punishment against “VVIPs, VIPs, government leaders and their posse” who violate standard operating procedures and safe distancing measures during the pandemic, particularly when regular citizens have been subject to fines and jail terms for being in breach of such regulations.
LGBT tak menyusahkan orang ramai.