-It has been an annual private gathering since 2008
-It's not a Public Parade but a Private gathering
-It's not calling for gay marriage but a Repeal in the Penal Code
-It's giving a platform for LGBTs to come out safely
-It's not involving any religion at all-It's not aggressive nor is it a street demonstration
-It's not violent-It's about basic human rights, civil liberties & human protection
KUALA LUMPUR: Members of Parliament engaged in a heated debate on the Seksualiti Merdeka festival today when they were supposed to be discussing the 2012 Supply Bill at the committee stage.
It all turned out to be a waste of time; the police meanwhile announced that the controversial event had been banned.
The usual suspects zoomed in on former Bar Council president S Ambiga, who was scheduled to launch the festival on Nov 9 here.
Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar started the ball rolling. “Lately,” he said, “there is the issue of Sexualiti Merdeka, which Ambiga supports. Your Honour, I am asking for this activity to be blocked. It involves wild relationships that will damage the country and nation. It is planting the seeds for the emergence of wilder relationships.”
Bung spoke before lunch, when the house was discussing baby dumping during the question-and-answer session.
The afternoon session had been reserved for discussion of the Supply Bill. But Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin picked up where Bung left off, calling on the Home Ministry to adopt a stronger stand against the festival.
“This is an event that supports unnatural sex,” he said. “On top of that, it is supported by Ambiga, who is the Selangor Caliph who spearheaded the illegal rally of Bersih. “I hope the Dewan and the Ministry will reject this.”
Siti Mariah Mahmud (PAS-Kota Raja) argued for a more civil approach. “We have to analyse the situation,” she said. “If we just use the law, they will become an underground outfit. If the event was not so controversial, I would want to attend and listen to their voices and get to know their sentiments.”
Amidst noisy interjections by Zulkifli, Siti Mariah said: “The event may be wrong, but that does not mean we have to be less than civil in dealing with the issue.” She defended Ambiga, calling her “an open minded person”.
Sexualiti Merdeka, which defends people’s rights to their sexual orientations, has been an annual event since 2008. In the midst of mounting pressure to take action against the event, deputy-inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar today announced a ban on all activities pertaining to the festival.