Malaysia

Malay group wants Ambiga cast out for Seksualiti link

By Melissa Chi
November 06, 2011

Ambiga previously explained that she was not the event’s organiser. — File picAmbiga previously explained that she was not the event’s organiser. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — A Malay education group today demanded for Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan’s citizenship to be revoked over her support of “Seksualiti Merdeka”, claiming her “wild” actions could cause chaos in the country.

Malay Education Movement (Gagasan) secretary-general Syed Anuar Syed Mohamad said in an Utusan Malaysia report today that the former Bar Council president should no longer be called a human as she had gone against “human norms” by raising issues deemed sensitive in a Muslim-majority country.

“She should be punished accordingly, like banishment or any other severe sentence, to make her realise her mistake,” he told Mingguan Malaysia, the paper’s Sunday edition.

The Federal Constitution, however, provides that no citizen may be banished or excluded from the Federation.

Today, Syed Anuar added Ambiga’s support for the banned Seksualiti Merdeka programme, which promotes sexual independence, advocates “a perverse sex culture” practised by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) in this country.

He said the Conference of Rulers could punish Ambiga, claiming she had touched on Islam when she “spread morality issues” banned by the religion.

“Although Malaysia is a democratic country, it does not mean Ambiga is given the freedom to do whatever she likes with her perverse ideology,” he said.

Police have already summoned the prominent lawyer for questioning on Tuesday in connection with her support for the banned sexual rights event.

Ambiga, the chairman of outlawed electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, had earlier agreed to launch Seksualiti Merdeka on Wednesday.

She stressed, however, that she did not organise the event and had only agreed to officiate the festival as a private citizen and not as a representative of Bersih.

Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir, the daughter of  former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was the guest of honour at the 2009 instalment of Seksualiti Merdeka.

Seksualiti Merdeka, a movement championing the freedom for sexual orientation and gender identity, has been holding the festival annually since 2008 but sparked a heated debate after the government banned the celebration on Friday.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police were not against freedom of expression or human rights but had to step in because the organisers did not have a permit to hold the festival in public.

Khalid added the police were investigating the matter under section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 27A(1)(c) of the Police Act and had linked Ambiga to the movement.

Malay rights group Perkasa and other Muslim NGOs held small protests on Friday against the event outside mosques in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, which they said insulted Islam as the religion of the country.

Seksualiti Merdeka’s organisers called off all public events yesterday in the interests of participants’ safety and are seeking a meeting with the Inspector-General of Police to explain the festival’s objectives.