Grilled in Germany over our policy on gays and Jews ahead of travel fair, minister allegedly said “no such thing in Malaysia”, which aide claims is in line with Putrajaya’s stand.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohammaddin Ketapi’s remarks on homosexuality have made Malaysia a laughing stock, says MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
Expressing disbelief at the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister’s remarks that homosexuality does not exist in Malaysia, Dr Mah also criticised the Parti Warisan Sabah leader’s ability to field questions from the media.
“He was asked by a reporter if Malaysia is safe for homosexuals. All he needed to say was that Malaysia is a safe country and every tourist is safe here,” said Dr Mah.
He said that Mohamaddin had instead made an “outlandish” remark that homosexuality does not exist in Malaysia.
German daily Berliner Morgenpost quoted Mohamaddin on Wednesday (Mar 6) as saying that ” I think we do not have such a thing in our country. I cannot answer whether it’s safe or not,” while in Germany for a travel fair.
Dr Mah said that Mohamaddin’s remarks had dented Malaysia’s reputation, and advised him to issue clarification on the matter,
He also hoped that Mohamaddin would not blame the media for misquoting him.
Dr Mah also raised doubt over the performance of certain ministers.
“It’s clear that some of them are non-performers and that they needed to be dropped soon. Please do not send them to other ministries.”
Meanwhile, an aide to the minister has defended the latter’s statement as in line with the government’s stance that the LGBT culture is not recognised in Malaysia.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, the aide, who wished to remain anonymous, also described the minister’s statement as his personal view.
It was previously reported that German politician Volker Beck had protested over Malaysia’s involvement in the International Tourism Bourse (ITB Berlin), touted as the world’s largest travel fair.
He labelled the country homophobic and anti-semitic over Malaysia’s insistence it would refuse entry to Israeli athletes participating in the World Para-Swimming Championship.
Malaysia has long courted criticism by rights groups over its handling of LGBT rights.
Putrajaya has repeated its stance that the LGBT culture is not accepted in the country, despite the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) estimating there are some 31,000 LGBT people in Malaysia.
Even so, the cabinet had criticised the move by the Terengganu state government in whipping two women after they were caught attempting same-sex relations last year.
Bernama reported that Malaysia is hoping that its participation in the ITB in Berlin from March 6 till March 10 will help it reach the target of attracting 30 million tourists by 2020.