Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, a Malaysian cabinet member who serves as the Senior Private Secretary to the Deputy Minister of Primary Industries and Commodities, was outed today after a sexually explicit video of him appeared online.
In a separate video, Aziz admitted to appearing in the sexually explicit video and said that it was recorded without his consent on May 11 in his room at the Sheraton Hotel Four Points.
It’s unclear what will happen to Aziz next since his admission. Other politicians have called on the police and the country’s anti-corruption commission to investigate.
Aziz’s admission may carry severe penalties in the anti-gay country where same-sex sexual encounters are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, fines and whippings. The country has zero LGBTQ legal protections, and in 2018, two women were publicly caned for “attempting lesbian sex.”
Another famous politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, had repeatedly been imprisoned over sodomy charges: in 2000 for allegedly having sex with both his chauffeur and speech writer, in 2008 for allegedly sleeping with a former aide and in 2015 for similar charges.
Ibrahim pled innocent and called the charges “a complete fabrication,” alleging that they’d been created by his political enemies to unseat and silence him.
A quick modern history of Malaysia’s anti-LGBTQ culture
Like one-fourth of the world, Malaysia’s anti-gay laws were originally imported by Britain colonialists. In the modern era, powerful Muslim clerics and politicians have used the laws to whip up outrage and support among conservative citizens.
In August 2018, police in Kuala Lumpur raided the gay bar Blue Boy — afterwards the Federal Territory ministry claimed the arrests were meant to “stop the spread of LGBTQ culture in society.” Since 2019, multiple trans women in Malaysia have also been beaten, hospitalized or killed by violent mobs.
In March 2019, Tourism Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi claimed there are no queer or trans people in Malaysia, a statement which drew condemnation from the country’s LGBTQ community. Despite the country’s anti-LGBTQ actions, it still hosts an annual Seksualiti Merdeka (Independent Sexuality) festival, though politicians have increasingly tried to prevent it from occurring.
Several Malaysian organizations have also vocally supported LGBTQ rights as part of their human rights advocacy work.
In 2013, the Malaysian government sponsored a touring musical, entitled Asmara Songsang (Abnormal Desire), to teach young people about the dangers of being queer.
In the musical, which featured some of the country’s biggest TV stars, three promiscuous, drug-using, party-going, queer gang members resist their Muslim neighbors attempts to bring them back into the heterosexual fold and are later killed by lightning. Afterwards, there was a lecture on why it’s bad to be LGBTQ, and the cast sang a song about national unity while waving Malaysian flags.