KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today that homosexuality would not exist if people were strong in their religious beliefs.
The former prime minister said homosexuality is now prevalent because the gay and lesbian communities have been following their emotions and lust.
“If you understand your religion, you will never be gay,” the 88-year-old said after a lecture in the International Islamic University Malaysia here.
“If you strengthen your faith, your iman, then you'll never be gay,” he added.
Dr Mahathir was answering a question by a student — a nephew of former New Straits Times group chief editor Datuk A. Kadir Jasin — who asked for a way to curb the spread of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir said that one of the dangers posed by the LGBT community is that they cannot have children, despite religion prescribing sex as a way to procreate.
“It is good that they are having gay marriages, very soon they will disappear,” Dr Mahathir added, referring to the Western world.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak objected to the inclusion of LGBT rights when signing Asean’s first human rights charter in 2012, saying Malaysia could not accept principles that went against the order of human nature.
In the same year, the Education Ministry was forced to deny endorsing any guideline on spotting homosexuality symptoms among schoolchildren, following its then deputy minister’s apparent support for a controversial list that has triggered widespread disapproval.
Mohd Puad Zarkashi, who was the then-deputy education minister, also said in March last year that his ministry may look into extending a parenting seminar on how to curb LGBT activities, to all districts in order to reach out to a wider group.
International news wire Reuters reported the federal government as acknowledging last year that it has been working to curb the homosexuality “problem” prevalent among Muslims who form 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.
Homosexuality in itself is not a crime in Malaysia but is taboo in the religiously-conservative society, including among followers of Islam.