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LGBT ‘not protected by Federal Constitution’

 | June 19, 2012

The government has never viewed the term 'sex' in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution as 'sexual orientation'.

KUALA LUMPUR: The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is not protected by clauses in the Federal Constitution that protects Malaysians against discrimination, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mashitah Ibrahim told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Mashitah said that Article 8 of the constitution, which talks about equality, has never been interpreted to mean sexual preference and only applies to gender.

“Article 8 of the Federal Constitution says there must be no discrimination of citizens in terms of religion or sex. ‘Sex’ has never been interpreted to mean sexual orientation; it has always been interpreted to mean either male or female, and they are [the only ones] protected by the constitution,” said Mashitah.

Clause 1 of Article 8 states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”. Clause 2 states that “there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender”.

She said this in reply to a supplementary question from Ngeh Khoo Ham (DAP-Beruas) during question time this morning.

Ngeh had asked whether it was right for the government to respond to the LGBT issue based on religious doctrine.

Mashitah earlier said that the government is serious in tackling the issue of LGBT as it went against the constitution of the country, which states that Islam is the official federal religion.

She said that through the many government initiatives, including rehabilitation and other programmes, “many have returned to the path [pangkalan]“.

“We see that LGBT happens following what is happening in Europe. It is not only individual but a movement. They are being mobilised to come out, as if they have been oppressed, on the excuse that their human rights have been taken away.

“We are against the mobilisation of this movement to spread this ideology,” she said.

No studies done in Malaysia

Ngeh had also asked if any study had been done to show that the person is born this way or if it was a choice of lifestyles.

“It is wrong for the government to state that it is western problem, because this was even present in Malaysia 50-60 years ago,” he said.

Mashitah said that such studies were not done in Malaysia but an Australian study had stated that LGBTs were not born with their sexual preferences, but “it is more the tendency to be this way”.

Answering another supplementary question from Mohd Jidin Shafee (BN-Setiu), Mashitah said that Malaysia does not allow men or women who change their sex via surgical operations to also change their gender in registration documents.

She said sex-change operations have been declared haram in syariah by the Fatwa Council in an edict.

Mashitah was responding to the original question from Jidin, who asked to what extent the government is moving to tackle the spread of LGBT in Malaysia.


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