At a national conference in Kuala Lumpur, leaders of Malaysia’s ruling political party continued to lash out at the LGBT community, demanding that punishment against homosexuality be “strict.”
Representatives of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which predates the country’s independence in 1957, claimed same-sex attraction threatened the country’s Islamic values and was “of the Devil.”
One delegate called for camps to “re-educate” gays and lesbians.
“We want to transform them from zaman kejahilan [dark age of ignorance],” Tanjong representative Mohd Shaharudin Mohd Hasan Tajudin told the over 2,000 delegates at Umno’s cavernous Putra World Trade Center (PWTC).
Shaharudin also suggested that high school students be taught to reject the LGBT lifestyle—along with pluralism and liberalism—in their religious education.
This is just the latest in an ongoing campaign against Malaysia’s LGBT community, as Islamist elements gain more power: In September, the government approved of a handbook that warned parents against telltale signs of homosexuality in their children.
In the spring, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin banned LGBT characters from Malay TV and allocated more than $32,000 toward conversion therapy.
And just last week, it was reported that Prime Minister Najib Razak objected to LGBT protections in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’s human-rights charter. His office warned against condoning “twisted practices” simply because they were approved of in the West.
Even pop icon Elton John got caught up in crosshairs when he performed at a resort Kuala Lumpur last week. Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) demanded the concert be canceled, saying “artists who are involved in gay and lesbian activities must not be allowed to perform in Malaysia as they will promote the wrong values.”
You know, like all those good values heterosexual pop stars promote.