PETALING JAYA: Lawyer-activist Siti Kasim has hit out at Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa over the removal of two portraits featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists from an exhibition to showcase Malaysian patriotism.
Siti, whose portrait is also part of the exhibition, told FMT it was sad that pictures of Malaysians representing all groups had been “selectively removed” due to religious morality, adding that Mujahid did not have his priorities right.
“What is he (Mujahid) going to do to ensure that money does not disappear within the various religious agencies that we have today?
“We have not even heard of any steps he will be taking to weed out extremist beliefs within these agencies, and ensure that such beliefs are eradicated.”
She added that the people had not forgotten about the “extremist” preacher at the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) who was also said to be involved in deradicalising inmates.
Although she did not mention any names, she appeared to be referring to Zamihan Mat Zin, who was labelled as an “extremist” in the past for his support of a launderette’s “Muslims-only” policy, among others.
Instead of “interfering with public freedom”, she said, Mujahid should focus on matters which were critical to the nation.
When asked for his response to such criticism and calls for him to focus on issues such as corruption, Mujahid told FMT that this was being done.
“We cannot do both as we have to maintain the stand that LGBT cannot be promoted,” the minister in charge of Islamic affairs added.
Yesterday, the portraits of LGBT activists Pang Khee Teik and Nisha Ayub were removed from the “Stripes and Strokes” exhibition which is part of the George Town Festival.
Activist Marina Mahathir subsequently told the organisers to remove her portrait as well, saying she was standing in solidarity with the two.
This came after Mujahid defended the removal of the portraits, saying it was in line with Putrajaya’s policy not to promote the LGBT lifestyle.
Siti confirmed to FMT today that she too had asked for her picture to be taken down.