This isn’t the first time that the Malaysian government has proposed stricter laws penalizing the anti-LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this year, it came to light that Putrajaya – located south of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur – was considering harsher crackdowns on those that identify as LGBTQ+, according to Malaysia’s Deputy Minister.
The proposed legal changes would include criminalising gender changes and the creation of online media content that could be deemed as “indecent”.
Following the news, Neela Ghoshal, Associate Director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Malaysia’s state and federal statutes that criminalize LGBT people are already out of bounds with regard to international law, and the government seems to be sinking even deeper in its disregard for human rights.
Same-sex acts are illegal in Malaysia, but convictions are rare.
The country has a dual-track legal system for its 13 states, in which Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims run alongside civil laws.
If convicted, Malaysian men can be imprisoned for up 20 years in jail under the British colonial-era law that bans gay sex, known as Section 377.