Putrajaya should defend everyone, say organisers of women’s march after backlash

The participation by LGBT activists in the march, organised in conjunction with International Women’s Day, has drawn criticism. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The organisers of a women’s march in the capital have defended calls made during yesterday’s rally to recognise the rights of the LGBT community, following a backlash created by such demands.

The 2019 International Women’s Day Committee said Putrajaya should be inclusive in its policies towards women, regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender or sexuality.

“The non-recognition of LGBT women acts as an attempt to exclude and erase an entire segment of population of women.

“Without such an intersectional and inclusive approach, all of our measures towards building a more peaceful, harmonious and developed nation will be hampered,” it said in a statement.

It went on to call for “reason, restraint, openness and respect” by those attacking the march.

Last night, the government said it was firm in opposing LGBT groups, following calls during a rally in Kuala Lumpur to recognise their rights.

“I am shocked by the actions of a handful of people today who abuse the democratic space to defend practices that are against Islamic teachings,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Several groups, including Women’s Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activists joined the rally.

Among others, the rally demanded an end to gender-based violence.

But today, the committee pointed out that a healthy democracy rests on the full and equal participation by all levels of society.

“We remind the government that it is its duty to defend this basic principle, in particular, those who are marginalised in society.”

The committee deplored the “moral panic instigated by the media and amplified by the political opportunism by individuals”.

It reminded the public that the rally had brought to the fore several issues, including a call for a ban on child marriages and a minimum wage of RM1,800. The Orang Asli representatives had also demanded equal access and control over their land and resources.