Thousands, including hundreds of students, gathered at an anti-LGBT rally outside Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, witnessing speeches clamouring for intolerance of sexual minorities in Malaysia.
Several NGOs met to express their dissatisfaction with tentative calls for LGBT rights in the majority Islamic country. Protestors met at the campus of Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang, south of the capital, after being denied permission to gather in Kuala Lumpur’s central square, Dataran Merdeka because the activity was not in line with City Hall’s policy on the use of the square.
The Malaysian Malay Network Organisation, Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) led seven Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a peaceful rally against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs) at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Sports Centre Stadium in Serdang near here, today.
JMM president Azwan Din Hamzah, who led the rally, said it was held for about three hours starting at 2pm and was attended by 7,000 people. He said the LGBTs, if allowed to persist, would lead to destruction of the country and religion. “We want to stop it. We cannot compromise on matters involving faith and religious values,” he said. Media reports on the numbers of protests varied from 1,000 to 3,000 from the New Straits Times. Much of the speakers’ anger was directed at politicians who they deemed to be supporting LGBT rights.
The rally was joined by several other NGOs such as the pro-establishment student group Aspirasi Mahasiswa. “Reject Free Sex, Reject Bisexual Leader”, “Gay and Bisex, Mad Dog Disease”, “Bar Council Out of Mind”, read some of the banners strung up in the stadium.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was cleared of the charge of sodomy in court earlier this year was targeted, as was former president of the Malaysian Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan who won US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s International Women of Courage award in 2009 and poet and novelist A Samad Said who joined, with Ambiga, the Bersih 2.0 rally for clean and fair elections in Malaysia in July 2011.
Malaysia LGBT rights activist Pang Khee Teik tweeted: ‘1,000 vent anger at anti-LGBT rally – Further proof that we desperately need a revolution in education’. Pang meanwhile was supporting protests for democracy by students in KL’s Dataram Merdeka. ‘The sun sets on day 9 of occupydataran while the sun rises on Malaysia democracy,’ he said in another tweet.