There are no gay people in Malaysia says tourism minister

Last Updated: Mar 08 2019 15:16
Reading time: 0 mins, 49 secs

Malaysia's tourism minister has denied the existence of gay people in the country, according to reports in German media.

Ahead of attending the ITB Berlin travel fair, Tourism Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi told German reporters that he wasn't aware of gay people in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country.

"I don't think we have anything like that in our country," he said, responding to a question as to whether Malaysia would welcome gay travellers, according to German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The Malaysian government has faced widespread criticism for its policies towards LGBT and Jewish people.

Under Malaysian law, homosexuality is defined as 'unnatural offences' and can be punished with 20 years in prison, flogging, and a fine.

Human Rights Watch said in 2015 that, 'discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive in Malaysia'. 

Ketapi's comment echoes former Iranian regime President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who told Columbia University students in 2007 that, 'in Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country.'