For the past months, the issue of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights has been making its rounds in the media, especially in the nation’s political sphere.
Based on data, more than 600 articles on LGBT issue were published by the media in March 2019. During that period, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) expressed their disappointment at Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders for condemning the LGBT community who took part in the Women’s March rally.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa criticized LGBT community participation in the rally to voice out their rights as “abuse to democracy”. Meanwhile, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) member Wan Saiful Wan Jan described the LGBT community in the march as “disgusting”.
Another hot topic revolving the LGBT issue is the gay sex videos scandal which alleged the involvement of Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. The videos were leaked through WhatsApp group on June 1. Following, former Youth chief of PKR Santubong Haziq Aziz made a video confession, stating that he was one of the two men the gay sex video and claimed that Azmin was the other.
The latest drama pertaining to the LGBT issue was the appointment of transwoman Rania Zara Medina as a member of Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Malaysia for the 2019/2021 term. CCM Malaysia was established to deal with HIV/AIDS diseases.
Rania’s appointment as a member of CCM went viral after she shared her appointment letter on Facebook, which was signed by Deputy Health Minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye.
Subsequently, Wanita UMNO chief Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad threw brickbats at her appointment, claiming that challenged the moral values of most Malaysians.
Additionally, Noraini urged the government to present a solid reason for appointing a transwoman to represent the Health Ministry.
Besides, PAS Muslimat chief Nuridah Mohd Salleh slammed Rania’s appointment for giving out the idea that the government gave their approval on LGBT lifestyle, which is against the moral principle and rule of law.
In the political arena, the government has been associated with the LGBT community from time to time, the alleged Azmin’s scandal and the recent Rania’s appointment in CCM. Last year, gay rights activist Numan Afifi stepped down as Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq’s press officer after receiving public backlash for his sexual orientation.
According to the trend, the opposition will not be slowing down anytime soon in playing the LGBT card against the government.