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Focus on Covid-19 instead, PSM tells govt over talk on punishing LGBT

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 20/1/2021 FMT Reporters
a man standing in a park: The government yesterday said it intends to hand out heavier punishments against those from the LGBT community. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today The government yesterday said it intends to hand out heavier punishments against those from the LGBT community.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has called for the government to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic instead of trying to punish the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Calling it a “new low” for the government, PSM criticised the move to hand out heavier punishments against the LGBT community, who are an “easy target”, when the country has more serious issues to think about.

“What is the government trying to achieve by putting out sweeping statements and announcing actions against the LGBT community?,” PSM said in a statement today.

“Shouldn’t they be focused on the Covid-19 pandemic instead?”

PSM claimed the public has lost trust in the government’s competence after news about ministers neglecting Covid-19 protocols and forgeries of halal certificates.

“Shouldn’t we be holding the guilty parties accountable for their misdeeds? Is this attack on the LGBT community intended to distract from the failures of the government?”

PSM was responding to comments made by deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (religious affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary at an event in Kota Bharu yesterday.

He had said the government intends to hand out heavier punishments against the LGBT community by amending the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355)

to increase the sentencing limits.

The Act currently provides for three years imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000 and six strokes of the cane.

He said the amendment should be seen as necessary to address their (LGBT) “wrongdoings”, adding that stern action had already been taken against those who do not dress according to their gender.

PSM said the government needed to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation instead of issuing statements that were akin to “pouring oil onto the fire”.

It added that open public discourse is essential to forming effective public policies, especially when they touch on issues, such as sexuality.

Stressing that the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and equal rights as well as protection to all regardless of identity, PSM also called for the government to repeal all repressive laws that discriminate against sexual minorities in Malaysia.

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