Let’s Do the Math on Gays in Malaysia

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11/12/2018

On Oct 29, an officer of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Mohd Izwan Mohd Yusof, claimed that the number of gay men in the country had increased from 173,000 to 310,000 between 2013 and 2018, while the number of transgender people between 1988 and 2018 increased from 10,000 to 30,000. Among others, he stated that Jakim had “helped” 1,450 LGBT persons under its “Mukhayyam” rehabilitation programme. This piece documents some informal thought experiments we decided to run on these numbers. Our reasons for doing so are twofold. Firstly, we thought that the numbers seemed odd – particularly those relating to the population of gay men and the apparent explosion in their numbers. Secondly, Jakim was given a significant allotment in the 2019 federal budget. As citizens who paid some of those taxes, we felt this would be a useful opportunity to learn about how our tax dollars are being spent.

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