Human Rights Watch warns over Malaysian proposals to increase penalties against LGBT+ people

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01/27/2021

The Malaysian government should condemn a cabinet minister’s proposal to crack down harder on LGBT+ communities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, the deputy minister in charge of religious affairs, suggested last week that the government should consider amending a section of the country’s Syariah Courts act to impose heavier penalties against the LGBT+ people. Currently, LGBT+ people face three-year imprisonment, a RM5,000 (approximately £900) fine and six strokes of the cane under the act. But Mr Shaary told reporters that increasing punishments “would prevent them from committing more offences”. He submitted a proposal which would allow state Syariah courts to enact harsher sentences for “same-sex conduct”. Mr Shaary also proposed to criminalise the changing of one’s gender and producing or sharing social media content that was deemed obscene, including images of non-normative gender expression.

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