Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi was in Germany last week for the ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) Berlin tourism fair. Since Malaysian officials have consistently condemned homosexuality, and in January officially barred Israeli delegates to Malaysian sporting and other events, a reporter for Deutsche Welle asked him whether the country was safe for gay and Jewish visitors.
After initially sidestepping the question, the minister was asked again whether gays were welcome and he replied: "I don't think we have anything like that in our country."It is not uncommon for leaders of Islamic countries to claim that, yes, they have no homosexuals. Making a victimless act punishable by flogging, long prison sentences and/or death will tend to make gays and lesbians reluctant to come out to their governmental officials. Those government officials are then free to characterize LGBTQness as a strictly Western phenomenon, like having blond hair or enjoying pumpkin spice lattes.
Ministers of the southeast Asian country have made other derogatory statements about LGTBI people, including one who told gays they should keep their identities secret.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said homosexuality was part of "Western values." He added: "Don't force it on us."
Sexual variation is well documented in non-white-skinned cultures, not to mention in the animal kingdom, so it's hard to believe that there is a race of humans who for some reason are genetically immune to LGBTQ DNA.
Whispering from behind a curtain in a darkened room while wearing a hoodie, fake nose and glasses, one of Mohamaddin's underlings hastened to correct the impression that LGBTQ and Jewish tourists are unwelcome in the southeast Asian country.
An aide to the minister later told news portal Malaysiakini that the statement was Mr Mohamaddin's personal views although it was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government's stance of not recognising LGBT culture.Authorities just don't want those Western values rubbing off on the locals.
Nevertheless, the aide, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "Tourists coming to Malaysia like any other country are welcome regardless of their creed, sexuality, religion or colour.”