G25 Malaysia joins the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and other civil society groups in opposing the proposal by the deputy minister (religious affairs) in the Prime Minister’s Department to introduce an amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Revised 1988) (Act 355) in Parliament for the purpose of imposing heavier sentences on the LGBT community if they engage in sinful behaviour. According to the deputy minister, cross dressing is also ‘sinful’ and must be punished with heavier sentences so as to act as a deterrent to others. The deputy minister was also reported to have said: “All state religious agencies and enforcers have been instructed to take action against those (LGBT) who do not behave accordingly.” In this regard, with due respect to the deputy minister, under the Federal Constitution, except for the federal territories, matters pertaining to the administration of Islam are a state matter and within the jurisdiction of the respective states. Therefore, it was a contravention of the Federal Constitution for the federal deputy minister to have issued such an instruction.
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