Monday, April 16, 2012

Group seeks police permit for anti-free sex assembly

KUALA LUMPUR: SOME 30 non-governmental organisations, led by Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), yesterday applied for a police permit to stage a peaceful assembly to voice their opposition to homosexuality and free sex.

JMM president Azwanddin Hamzah said representatives from 30 NGOs are expected to attend the gathering, scheduled for April 21 at Dataran Merdeka to oppose lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) and free sex practices in Malaysia.

Among the NGOs expected to take part are the Armed Forces Veterans Association and the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Parents and Teachers Association.

Azwanddin said they were expecting between 5,000 and 10,000 people to take part in the assembly.

"The assembly is not politically motivated. It is our way of showing that we are against LBGT and free sex," he said outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters, here, yesterday.

Azwanddin said the assembly was aimed at voicing out against those willing to compromise religion for political interests.

"There is an agenda among certain individuals who clearly wish to destroy the nation's moral and religious values.

"We cannot just sit and watch. We need to do something and the assembly is our way of reaching out to the public."

He said they would proceed with the assembly if police did not issue them a permit, adding that they would know by Monday.

"This will be a peaceful gathering and it has nothing to do with politics," he stressed.

He said they did not discriminate against individuals who might have been born with such tendencies. They, however, were against groups that were out to make it an acceptable lifestyle, he added.

Azwanddin who was accompanied by representatives from three NGOs, urged Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to relinquish his post for rejecting the motion to bar free sex practices and LGBT to become the people's representatives in the Dewan Rakyat.

The motion, which was filed by Bayan Baru independent member of parliament Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim last week, was rejected based on Standing Order 18 (2) dan 23 (1) (c) for being "insignificant".

"We are disappointed with his decision. He should just resign," said Azwanddin.

The LBGT issue first came to light at the end of last year when a group decided to organise a programme called Seksualiti Merdeka. The group claimed they had received the support of former bar council president Datuk S. Ambiga, opposition party leaders and Tenaganita chairman Irene Fernandez.

The programme, according to its committee members, was an annual sexuality rights festival celebrating the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.

A coalition of NGOs, artistes, activists and individuals had organised the event since 2008.

The programme, however, was banned by police after they received hundreds of reports from NGOs and religious movements, which feared the programme would erode social values.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar, in announcing the ban, had said police were not against freedom of expression or human rights, but had to step in because the organisers did not have a permit to hold the festival in public.