Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak asking him to rescind the ban.
New York-based International human rights organisation Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to Najib Tun Razak asking him to rescind the ban .
“Banning the Seksualiti Merdeka Festival blatantly contradicts Prime Minister Najib’s ‘1Malaysia’ call to promote ‘unity in diversity’ in Malaysia and sadly indicates that a discriminatory, homophobic agenda persists within some quarters of the government.
“The prime minister should promptly reverse this wholly unjustified decision and minimize the harm to Malaysia’s reputation,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch in a letter dated yesterday to Najib.
The call to rescind the ban comes as a result of Deputy Inspector General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar who banned it on the grounds that it constitutes a “threat to public order” under section 298A of the Penal Code.
The Seksualiti Merdeka festival that has been going on since 2008 and was initially scheduled to begin from today until Sunday.
It is made up of talks, workshops, literary events, stage performances, and an art exhibition focusing on “the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
The festival is opposed by a variety of Muslim groups such as Islamist party, PAS and Malay right wing pressure group – Perkasa.
The HRW queried the police inaction against Perkasa’s threat against the LGBT community on Friday. Yet a day earlier, the police was all out to stop the festival.
“Perkasa Youth chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris reportedly vowed to stop gay and lesbian culture to “the last drop of blood” – the Malaysian police force did nothing,” said HRW.