MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, November 30, 2023

'This is torture' - rights group slams Johor LGBT rehab plan

Justice For Sisters (JFS) has condemned plans to set up a rehabilitation centre in Johor that targets “deviant” LGBTQ individuals.

“Detaining people on the grounds of changing their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression undeniably amounts to torture,” said JFS co-founder Thilaga S.

JFS said the proposed centre is a violation of human rights and breaches Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, which protects the personal liberty, privacy, and dignity of all Malaysians.

The LGBTQ rights advocate added that it also violates Article 8, which protects equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

Yesterday, Johor Islamic Affairs Committee chairperson Mohd Fared Khalid yesterday said the state has allocated RM400,000 to establish the centre by July next year.

Calling for the plan to be scrapped, JFS urged the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to engage the Johor government and conduct a human rights assessment on similar state-sponsored centres nationwide.

The group said such centres disregard the Federal Court's finding that Section 28 of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment which criminalises “sex against the order of nature” is unconstitutional.

It added that the Federal Court ruling should apply to all similar state laws and render all laws criminalising “sex against the order of nature” powerless.

In 2021, the Federal Court unanimously declared the Selangor Syariah law which criminalised “sex against the order of nature” void and unconstitutional.

Under the Syariah Enactment, “any person” performing “sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal”, is punishable with a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum three-year jail term or a maximum whipping of six strokes or any combination.

Banned by WHO

Meanwhile, JFS said such gender and sexuality conversion practices have been found to be harmful to the participants’ health, prompting the World Health Organisation to call for a ban on such measures.

“Based on our survey of LGBTQ people in Malaysia, these practices result in long-term severe impacts, including negatively affecting their mental health, dropping out of schools, and suicidal ideation and attempts,” it added.

Fared said the rehabilitation centre will “not only tackle those who have veered from the right path, but it also helps those convicted of committing same-sex relations or LGBTQ by the Syariah Court.”

“The establishment of such a centre for those found to have engaged in same-sex relations is also the first in Malaysia.

“The centre will provide them with a space to purify their faith and get back on the right path,” he was quoted as stating. - Mkini

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