Asia » Malaysia
Gay Guide Malaysia
Malaysia is an Islamic country and homosexuality is illegal: homosexual acts (oral/anal sex, also heterosexual) can be punished with up to 20 years in prison and public flogging. As a foreigner, however, one hardly has to fear these draconian punishments. In large parts of Malaysia there is a dual legal system consisting of state and Shariah courts of law. In 2012, the system was partially challenged in the Supreme Court, as in the opinion of four trans-women some Shariah laws violate state law, that clearly punishes the restriction of personal freedom and freedom of speech. In October, the Supreme Court ruled that current practice does not violate the state constitution. In general, it is astonishing how under these conditions a relatively diverse queer scene could develop in the cities. Their discretion makes it easy for the public and the police to ignore them. There are even some gay organisations, but they do not receive much support. Prostitution is prohibited. Since 2008, the annual festival "Seksualiti Merdeka" (Freedom of sexuality) has been held to promote diversity. In November 2011, however, the festival was banned after politicians and Muslim associations condemned the event as "immoral". The ban seems to be necessary in the eyes of the critics, since the festival attracted greater media attention last year through a PR campaign. In May 2017, an LGBTQ march was cancelled following complaints from Muslim organisations - it was considered particularly disrespectful to hold such an event in the holy month of Ramadan. In 2018, two women were sentenced to corporal punishment for public sex in a car - the country's prime minister condemned the punishment, saying it was contrary to Islam's sense of justice and compassion. A year later, a gay bar in Kuala Lumpur was searched by police, but almost at the same time there was much resistance when a politician in charge of Islamic affairs wanted to have the portraits of two queer activists removed from an exhibition. In a survey conducted in 2013, 9% of Malaysians interviewed said homosexuality must be accepted - in 2007 it was 8%. Despite the slight increase, Malaysia was the third least tolerant country in Asia, behind Indonesia and Pakistan. Despite these limitations, you can have a great holiday in Malaysia because the Malaysians are very friendly and open people and the good infrastructure makes travelling quite comfortable. However, you should be discreet. A large part of the country is made up of mountains, tropical rainforests and rice fields. The islands of Penang ("Pearl of the East"), Langkawi and Pangkor and the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula offer some of the most beautiful beaches of the Far East.
Islands in Malaysia
Cities in Malaysia
Location: Southeast Asia
International country code: 60 (omit 0 from area code)
International access code: 00
Language: Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil
Currency: 1 Malayan Ringgit (RM) = 100 Sen
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Religions: 61% Muslim, 19% Buddhist, 9% Christian, 6% Hindu
Climate: Tropical climate. Avoid the rainy season (Nov-Jan) on Malaysia's east coast if you want to enjoy the beaches.
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