New Malaysian Anti-LGBT Law Proposal


On Friday 25 June, a task force within the Malaysian government proposed modifications to the laws governing social media. The new amendments would allow Malaysian officials to pursue legal action against users who insult Islam and “promote LGBT lifestyles.” The Sharia law was proposed in response to the increase in social media posts celebrating Pride Month. Posts presenting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues came under scrutiny by the Malaysian government and spurred amendments to the Sharia criminal laws. Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, the deputy minister of religious affairs stated that “certain parties uploaded statuses and graphics that insulted Islam on social media in their efforts to promote the LGBT lifestyle.” The anti-LGBT laws were introduced in Malaysia within the 1936 Penal Code and criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” indicating sodomy and same sex relations. This code holds a penalty of up to twenty years imprisonment and whipping. Further in 1994, the Malaysian government instated a ban on any homosexual, bisexual or transgender within state-controlled media. These laws were enacted under the dual legal system present within Malaysia, which governs Muslim citizens under Islamic criminal and family laws that work alongside civil laws applicable to all citizens. Deputy Minister Marzuk stated that the new laws would allow Malaysian courts to take action against any Muslims who “insult the religion of Islam.” The specific religious laws allow Muslim citizens to be charged in special Islamic courts which tolerate torture, execution and beatings.

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