Twitter Reacts To Tourism Minister’s Statement About Gays In Malaysia
Ahead of the largest travel trade shows in the world, reporters from the German media asked Malaysia’s Tourism Minister, Datuk Mohammaddin bin Ketapi if the country is a safe destination for gay tourists. He answered, “I don’t think we have anything like that in our country.”
“I don’t think we have anything like that in our country.” – Datuk Mohammaddin bin Ketapi, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Deutsche Welle, a German broadcaster also reported that the Minister sidestepped another question in which he was asked if Malaysia was safe for Jewish tourists. “I cannot answer whether it’s safe or not,” he was quoted by the Berliner Morgenpost.
Malaysia is one of the official partner countries for the ITB Berlin Travel Fair. Datuk Mohammaddin spoke about Malaysia’s culture, nature, and beauty before speaking to the reporters.
Netizens, including prominent LGBTQ activist Phang Khee Teik, took to Twitter to express their views regarding the minister’s statement. Here’s what they have to say:
"I don't think." There, I fixed it. https://t.co/5xRqmwgXsc
— Pang Khee Teik (@PangKheeTeik) March 6, 2019
I can't believe Malaysia's tourism minister said gay people don't exist here whilst at a fair in Berlin. Literally no one's surprised you're homophobic tapi when you're on international stage, tolonglah behave yourself sikit. As if our tourism industry isn't suffering ENOUGH
— Pastel Depressed 🌸 (@wnswz) March 7, 2019
Muhammadin ketapi: gays dont exist in malaysia
The gays (especially in sabah): pic.twitter.com/IXHwWbSPX7
— mohd dante (@fizmhs) March 6, 2019
Gay jugak maksud dia “Happy” mungkin dia maksudkan yang tu. Takde org happy dekat Malaysia ni. Husnuzonnn.. https://t.co/lLHvxsXWEl
— Amri Sacdan (@masaokimura) March 6, 2019
gay people in malaysia: *exists*
malaysia's tourism minister: pic.twitter.com/ie6yw9fjKE
— adam (@ehhitsadam) March 6, 2019
After the public backlash, an aide to the minister has since defended the statement, saying that it was a personal sentiment, echoing Putrajaya’s stance that does not recognise the LGBTQ community in Malaysia. “Tourists coming to Malaysia, like any other country, are welcome regardless of their creed, sexuality, religion or colour,” said the aide.
Here’s the thing – a gay person is still a person, regardless of their sexuality. We can’t erase their existence simply because they have a different sexuality. After all, gay people don’t choose to be gay, like straight people don’t choose to be straight.
The fact is, the LGBTQ community does exist here in Malaysia and all over the world. In fact, we’re expecting 30 million tourists this year. We’ll have LGBTQ tourists from all walks of life in our country. Let’s welcome them with open arms and respect them for who they are.