Malaysia, Asia

Because Malaysia is one of three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade plays a large role in its economy. At one time, it was the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country's economy. Gay rights are absent in Malaysia. Section 377 of the penal code prohibits heterosexual and homosexual sodomy with punishments including up to twenty years in prison and or fines and whippings. Section 337a more narrowly prohibits acts of "gross indecency with another male person" with punishment including up to two years in prison. Cross-dressing in public is also a crime under vague laws against public immorality. State legislators are permitted to enact state laws. In 1993, the Malaysian state of Kelantan adopted Islamic law and thus the punishment for sodomy in that state is death. Malaysia stands under heavy influence of Islam and homosexuality is technically illegal. Nevertheless, there is a national gay organization in the country: Pink Triangle Foundation. Also see: Islam and Homosexuality


News & Reports:


Malaysia’s cruel religious ban on gay sex is to be challenged in an historic court case

A man in Malaysia has won the right to challenge a religious state law banning gay sex in the mostly Muslim country. According to Reuters, a lawyer for the man said on Wednesday (May 27) that Malaysia’s top court had him the go-ahead for the landmark LGBT+ rights test case. The Muslim man in his… Read more »

Malaysia sentences five men to jail, caning and fines for gay sex

Kuala Lumpur – A Malaysian religious court sentenced five men on Thursday to jail, caning and fines for attempting gay sex, media and a rights group said. Sodomy and same-sex acts are illegal under Islamic law in Muslim-majority Malaysia, although convictions are rare. The Selangor Shariah High Court, on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital,… Read more »

Its Pride month & I have never been so afraid. I live in Malaysia.

Our situation has only deteriorated – and we are terrified. We don’t get the privilege of celebrating Pride. We need help. Every year, when the month of June rolls around, butterflies of anticipation start to flutter in the hearts of the LGBT community. It is our month to celebrate, our month to raise awareness, and… Read more »

A LGBTI activist in Malaysia speaks out

Interview: LGBTI rights advocate Numan Afifi discusses how entrenched homophobia is in Malaysia A 96-second video of an apparent homophobic attack has been circulating in Malaysia this week. A group of individuals verbally abuse, then violently attack, two men. The group accused the two of having a sexual encounter in a car. A Malaysia-based LGBTI… Read more »

Malaysian LGBTI rights group calls for investigation into homophobic attack video

A video circulating in Malaysia appears to show a group attacking two men for allegedly having sex in a car An LGBTI rights group has called on the Malaysian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into an apparent homophobic attack. The Pelangi Campaign has requested police to look into a video that appears to show… Read more »

Trans woman beaten to death in Malaysia

She suffered 32 different injuries including a fractured skull A gang of men beat a transgender woman to death in the city of Klang in Malaysia, according to local media. The 32-year-old woman died from injuries caused by blunt weapons on Wednesday (12 December) night, the Star Online reports. A local police chief told the… Read more »

Malaysian official plays down claim there are 310,000 ‘homosexuals’ in the country

A senior officer from the Islamic Development Department said this week the country had ‘rehabilitated’ 1,450 LGBTI Malaysians A senior officer from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) on Tuesday (31 October) said his earlier remark that there were 310,000 homosexuals in Malaysia was only ‘preliminary’. On Monday, Jakim’s Mohd Izwan Md Yusof said the… Read more »

Stop using LGBTI Malaysians as ‘punching bag’ warns lawyer group

Lawyers for Liberty was responding to calls from political leader, Anwar Ibrahim, to reject LGBTI ‘lifestyle’ Malaysia’s leaders must stop using the LGBTI community for political gain, said local civil society group Lawyers for Liberty. It comes as LGBTI Malaysians feel increasingly persecuted under Malaysia’s nascent new government. ‘The LGBT have to live in hiding… Read more »

2 Terengganu Women To Be Caned For Having Sex In A Car

  They were also fined RM3,300 each. On 12 August, the Terengganu Syariah court sentenced two women to six canes and a RM3,300 fine each after they pleaded guilty to having sex in a car New Straits Times reported that the women admitted to breaking an Islamic law which bans sexual relations between women. Punishment… Read more »

Malaysia Begins Blocking Online AIDS/HIV and LGBT Travel Information

TMNet, a Malaysian Internet Service provider, has begun tampering with Internet DNS domain names to prevent users in Malaysia from accessing HIV/AIDS and LGBT travel information online. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia In an unprecedented move for a multi-cultural tourism destination, Malaysia has begun to block Internet access to public information about HIV/AIDS and LGBT travel, effecting… Read more »

Small victories can’t stop the dangers for LGBTIQ people in Southeast Asia

A new report found the LGBTIQ community in Southeast Asia is experiencing ‘small steps sideways, big steps back’ The situation for LGBTIQ people in Southeast Asia has deteriorated, despite some small victories in the region. Rising influential conservative social forces had led to the increasing criminalization and pathologization of LGBTIQ people in the region. A… Read more »

Malaysia among Asia-Pacific countries with most new AIDS infections

A United Nations report finds that Malaysia is one of the 10 countries which together accounted for over 95% of all new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region, Bernama reported today. The report, compiled by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) “Ending AIDS: Progress Towards the 90-90-90 Targets”, said the other nine Asia-Pacific countries that had… Read more »

What happens when a man contracts HIV in Malaysia

Humans of Kuala Lumpur About seven percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) are HIV-positive, and the trend is likely to rise, the Malaysian Aids Council (MAC) says. However, it is difficult for these men to come forward and seek assistance because they are often stigmatised – for being HIV-positive and then for… Read more »

Gay Malaysian student given refugee status in Canada after threats

An out gay Malaysian student has been given refugee status in Canada after receiving threats. Hazim Ismail, who says he is an atheist, was granted leave to stay in Canada by the country’s Immigration and Refugee Board. He had been attacked due to his sexual orientation back in Malaysia The University of Winnipeg student will… Read more »

This guy explains what it is like growing old with HIV in Malaysia

Andrew Tan from Malaysia, was diagnosed with HIV in 1994. He was 24 years-old at that time and didn’t expect to live beyond his twenties. Today he is 55 years-old and open about his status and being a gay man. As another World AIDS Day is marked, UNAIDS speaks with Mr Tan about his many… Read more »

Being LGBT In Southeast Asia: Stories Of Abuse, Survival And Tremendous Courage

LGBT groups in Southeast Asia are working double-time to bring about change. This is a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there. For the next nine days, we’ll be telling the stories of each country… Read more »

Malaysian court rules transgender people ‘mentally ill’

Bangkok, Thailand — There’s some good news for transgender Muslim women in Malaysia. An influential court ruling says police can’t persecute them under religious law just for wearing dresses and lipstick. Keeping the police away, however, may require a demeaning concession: getting certified as mentally ill. Malaysia is a bastion of conservative Islam, a tropical… Read more »

Ongoing fight for trans rights in Malaysia

Transgender people in Malaysia may soon have fewer legal barriers to expressing their gender freely, thanks to a recent ruling in a state appeals court. The Malaysia Court of Appeal in the city of Putrajaya ruled last month that three trans women were not bound by legal prohibitions on “impersonating” someone of the opposite gender.… Read more »

Malaysian religious police raid hotel, arrest two women for sharing room

Malaysia: Malaysian religious police arrested a lesbian couple after raiding a hotel room in Johor Baru where they were staying, media reported. The two young women had been arrested by officers of the Johor Islamic Religious Department, according to citing a Sinar Harian newspaper report. The newspaper reported nine officers searching the hotel when… Read more »

Malaysia bans leading human rights coalition for ”promoting gay rights”

Malaysia’s Home Ministry has banned and accused the country’s leading human rights coalition of pursuing gay, lesbian and transgender rights which “run contrary to Islam” In a move that has been denounced by human rights groups including Amnesty International, Malaysia’s Home Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement declaring the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) illegal… Read more »

The life of gay people in Muslim Malaysia

While life as a gay young person growing up during the 1980s certainly was rough, I know that many people had it much worse. And many still do. As I contemplated living in Malaysia, I had to ask the question What would life be like for me as a gay man in Malaysia? While the… Read more »

Human Rights Watch calls for end to Malaysia’s sodomy law

Global human rights group Human Rights Watch have called on Malaysia to repeal its colonial era law banning gay sex as the government continues to use it to harass Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Global human rights group Human Rights Watch have called on the Malaysian Government to cease its legal harassment of Opposition leader Anwar… Read more »

Same-sex marriage: The final destination?

At last count, 14 countries have legalised same-sex marriage. In Asia, the issue is gaining steam in Vietnam and Thailand as its governments are considering legalising same-sex marriage and civil unions respectively. Is this a cause all gay people should get behind? Malaysian gay activist and co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka Pang Khee Teik writes that… Read more »

Homophobia & Transphobia: The Story in Malaysia

Despite Malaysia being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons has reached “new levels of intensity” according to Human Rights Watch’s latest report on Malaysia. For this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, IREX spoke about the state of LGBT rights in Malaysia with Julian Sanjivan, a Community… Read more »

Malaysia still curtailing LGBT people’s rights, says Human Rights Watch

Malaysia’s human rights record criticized again in report to the UN Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Malaysia of violating international standards against discrimination with their words and actions against LGBT people. HRW submitted a wide-ranging report to the UN on Malaysia’s human rights failures, which included curtailing freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression… Read more »

Malaysia: the reality behind the headlines

After a year of headlines about shockingly homophobic statements from the government, Gay Star News visits Malaysia to find out what life is really like for LGBT rights activists there Out of all Asian nations, Malaysia has the dubious honor of collecting the most negative headlines on Gay Star News in the last 12 months.… Read more »

Malaysia hears Christmas call for tolerance for LGBTs

Malaysia’s most read online newspaper has published a Christmas call for tolerance towards LGBTs just days after a prominent lawmaker warned Malays about adopting foreign views on homosexuality Malaysia’s most read news website has published a Christmas call for tolerance for LGBTs from a reader. The Malaysia Kini website published the article ‘Bethlehem revisited –… Read more »

Human Rights Watch tells Malaysia to stop vilifying LGBT people

Leading human rights organization sends letter to Malaysian PM saying his discriminatory policies are against the principles of UN member states Leading global human rights defender Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to the Malaysian prime minister asking him to stop discriminating against LGBT citizens. In the open letter to Prime Minister Najib Abdul… Read more »

Malaysian transgender women lose legal challenge to dress as… women

A Malaysian High Court has dismissed an application by four transgender women who had sought to have an Islamic law that bars Muslim men from wearing women’s clothes reviewed. The secular High Court in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan state, on Thursday rejected a bid by four Muslim male-to-female transgender persons who sought to have the court… Read more »

Malaysian Court Rejects Challenge to Cross-Dressing Ban

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — A challenge to a law barring Muslim men from dressing or posing as women was dismissed on Thursday by a Malaysian court, prompting concern that more transgender people in the Muslim-majority country may be prosecuted. In Malaysia, Muslim men can be fined and jailed for transvestism under the country’s dual legal… Read more »

The ASEAN declaration – Good news or bad news?

We now know what the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will say. Is it good news or bad news for LGBTI? Douglas Sanders looks at the issues. First the bad news. We are not named. In the anti-discrimination provisions there is no reference to “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” or “gender expression.” Perhaps we don’t… Read more »

Govt-endorsed parental guide to “identify” gay and lesbian children slammed

The guide to “help” parents identify gay and lesbian “symptoms” in their children says one indication is that gay men have muscular bodies and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes… The Education Ministry-endorsed “guidelines” to “help” parents identify gay and lesbian “symptoms” in their children so they can take early… Read more »

Gay Couple Married in US Feted at Malaysia Banquet

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AP) – A gay pastor who married his musical producer boyfriend in New York last year has fulfilled a vow to hold a wedding banquet in his native Malaysia in what they believe is the first such event in the Muslim-majority country. Malaysian-born Ngeo Boon Lin and African-American husband Phineas Newborn III,… Read more »

Malaysian Opposition leader says gays should be discriminated against

Malaysian Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has told the Malay High Court that homosexuals should be prosecuted despite having twice defended sodomy charges against himself Malaysian Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has told a Malay court that homosexuals should be discriminated against, despite past comments to the BBC in which he called the country’s sodomy laws archaic… Read more »

Malaysia: Muslim lesbian activist launches controversial book

A Canadian Muslim has launched a controversial new book on liberal Islam in Malaysia, where the majority of citizens are Muslim, despite attempts by a government minister to ban the event. The book, titled ‘Allah, Liberty and Love,’ was launched by its author, Irshad Maji, in the capital Kuala Lampur earlier today, after two other… Read more »

Malaysia Says No To Gay Characters On TV, Radio

The government of Malaysia has banned television and radio shows which feature gay characters. The ban, effective immediately, was reported by The Star. Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz told The Star that the ban was meant to curb the “influence” of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. State-owned… Read more »

Malaysian activist responds to MP’s call for ban on LGBT politicians

Pang Khee Teik says ‘only the morally bankrupt… are threatened by the honesty and transparency of the openly LGBT’ Malaysian sexualities rights activist Pang Khee Teik has responded to MP Zahrain Mohamed Hashim’s attempt to table an emergency motion in parliament last week to bar LGBT people from becoming MPs and senators. Pang said: ‘They… Read more »

State-run TV in Malaysia to ‘ban’ programmes featuring gay characters

The Malaysian Information Department has banned television shows which feature gay characters, starting with state-run channels. The country’s Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz said the ban would be effective immediately beginning with state-owned TV and radio stations Mr D’Cruz said: “If it means cancelling some of the shows, so be… Read more »

Malaysia announces funding for counsellors to tackle gay ‘phenomenon’

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced funding yesterday to enable counsellors to tackle “sexual orientation disorders like LGBT”. The politician was speaking at the launch of National Counselling, Education and Career Carnival and Improving Professional Counselling seminar at Universiti Putra Malaysia, The Malaysian Sun Daily records. Muhyiddin said the funding “includes counselling… Read more »

Malaysia: Court rejects Seksualiti Merdeka’s application to pursue a judicial review against a police ban

Seksualiti Merdeka’s leave of application to pursue a judicial review against a police ban of its programme in 2011 has been rejected by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. In January, Fridae reported that five applicants – festival co-founder Pang Khee Teik, Angela Marianne Kuga Thas, S Thilaga Socky Pillai, Siti Zabedah Kasim and Michelle… Read more »