No way we’ll recognise gay rights in Malaysia, says Dr M

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today rejected the National Human Rights Commission’s (Suhakam) defence of the LGBT community, saying their lifestyle is not part of Malaysia’s value system.

“We have to remind Suhakam that our value system is not the same as the Western value system. They’re more free,” the prime minister told reporters after a meeting with the Cabinet Committee on Government Management Integrity (JKKMAR).

Suhakam had recently criticised the caning of two women in Terengganu who were convicted by a shariah court with attempting to engage in lesbian sex.

The government-appointed rights watch had also urged for a repeal of laws that punish people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Mahathir said there were certain things that Malaysians could not accept although they could be considered as part of basic human rights in some Western countries.

“We can’t accept, for example, LGBT, or same-sex marriages, whether between two men or two women. Our concept of family has not changed.

“If you have your own children or have adopted them, then you are a family.

“But not two men or two women. This is not considered a family,” he said.

The 93-year-old added that he was “not interested” in the 25 additional charges against former prime minister Najib Razak yesterday, and declined to comment on whether he thought this was excessive.

“Whatever the police decide is worth charging him with, that is their business. I’m not interested.

“But we know that he did a lot of things that were wrong,” he said, adding that he had been told that more charges would come.

On the matter of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which re-entered the spotlight after Mahathir’s visit to Sabah on Malaysia Day, the prime minister said restoring East Malaysia’s status as equal partners under the agreement would take some time as the constitution would have to be amended.

He also rubbished rumours that former defence minister and Umno stalwart Hishammuddin Hussein had asked to join his party, PPBM, during a meeting in Putrajaya earlier this week.

On the Cabinet’s decision to terminate all political appointees installed by the previous administration as ambassadors outside of Malaysia, he said this would not be the case for Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai.

He said unlike the other ambassadors, Tan, who was recently appointed as Malaysia’s special envoy to China, was “stationed in the country”.