Discrimination Against The Lgbt Community In Malaysia

3824 words - 16 pages

In Malaysia , discrimination against members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community reached new levels of intensity ; sodomy remained a crime. In fact, the Government maintained its refusal to consider repeal of article 377A-B of the penal code, which criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”and punishes it with the penalty of imprisonment for a term extendable to twenty years. Throughout 2013 a government-backed musical aiming to warn young people about the perils of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender sparked wide controversy over its potential to incite hatred . In January 2013, a workshop on LGBTtook place at the Politeknik Seberang ...view middle of the document...

The new Act included a very broad definition of a security offence, allowing the police to intercept communications of the suspect during investigationswithout judicial authorization, and permitting prosecutors to use secret witnesses and unsourced information as evidence, while preventing cross-examination. Following release, the new law also permits a series of appeals, with bail disallowed,that could potentially result in a suspect’s indefinite detention.Suspects may be held for 48 hours before being granted access to a lawyer and police can alsounilaterally impose electronic monitoring devices on the suspectafter release .

As of March 2013, 23 individuals remained detained under the provisions of the ISA, under Section 32 of the SOSMA . The Sectionstates that the repeal of the ISA shall not affect any order issued or made under the repealed ISA prior to date of coming into operation of SOSMA, unless earlier revoked by the Minister; and any action or proceedings taken under the repealed ISA prior to date of coming into force of SOSMA . The first SOSMA detention dated back to 7 February 2013 and showed clearly police’s ability to circumvent the law. Mohd Hilmi Hassim was arrested under the law and detained for more than a week without access to a family member or a lawyer. The police additionally tried to convince him to become a state witness against two others. The detained was finally charged with abetment on February 21. His mother reported that she suffered threats and intimidation by the police .

Three emergency declarations (the 1966 Emergency Proclamation to quell political disorder in Sarawak, the 1969 National Emergency after the May 13 racial riot and the 1977 State Emergency Proclamation to quell political discord in Kelantan) were lifted in 2012. However, during the reporting period, othercontroversial legislations remained in force. The Drugs Special Preventive Measures Act 1985 allows preventive indefinite detention without a trial. According to this Act, individuals may be arrested without a warrant and held for 24 hours (extendable) without being charged. During 2012 alone, an estimated 700 people were held under the act .

Police abuse was another problematic matter. Suspicious deaths in custody and failure to conduct adequately post-mortem enquiries and investigations or to ensure accountability of those responsible were major concerns. According to official government figures, twelve people were reported dead between January and the beginning of July 2013. For these twelve recorded cases, only four police officers were known to have been officiallycharged and all related to a single case . The Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC), established in 2009 to handle public complaints against government bodies, including the police,failed to investigate any past cases of custodial death. In fact, the Commission has no prosecution powers, can only initiate an investigation after a complaint has been lodged by...

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