Malaysia

Focus is on preventing, correcting homosexuality, says deputy minister

By Hafidz Baharom
September 20, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the government will push forward in educating parents on how to prevent, overcome and correct symptoms of homosexuality in children.

But he told The Malaysian Insider today that there will be no published guidelines to identify gay and lesbian traits, saying that the Education Ministry was not involved in hosting the “Parents Handling LGBT Issues” seminars including one he launched in Kedah earlier today.

Mohd Puad (picture) did not however elaborate on what the government would do to “correct” or “prevent” homosexuality.

Gender equality advocates have attacked Putrajaya for sending the wrong message about sexuality and social conformity by endorsing controversial “guidelines” aimed at helping parents recognise “symptoms” of homosexuality in children.

The groups had demanded the federal government retract its endorsement, saying the descriptions are misleading and may lead to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community.

Putrajaya had reportedly endorsed a list of identifiable gay and lesbian traits that was distributed to schools and parents, published by the Yayasan Guru Malaysia Bhd and Putrajaya Consultative Council of Parents and Teachers Associations.

The guidelines are ostensibly aimed at preventing the “spread” of the phenomenon among teenagers, especially students, according to media reports last week.

Education Ministry officials had subsequently denied endorsing the list, which says that gay men have muscular bodies and like to show off by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes, prefer tight and light-coloured clothing, are attracted to men and like to carry big handbags similar to those used by women. 

Lesbians are said to be attracted to women, like to eat, sleep and hang out in the company of other women and have no affection for men.

“There are no such published guidelines and I was only invited to officiate these events by the non-government organisations involved,” said Mohd Puad today.

“We in the Ministry of Education look at this LGBT issue seriously, and all we wish to do is to educate people, parents especially, on how to overcome this issue, how to prevent it as well as early corrective measures,” he said.

He added that these seminars were “not an attack” on the LGBT community in Malaysia.