KUALA LUMPUR,. A senior officer from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) today sought to play down his earlier remark on the current homosexual population in the country, where the minority demographic group still faces discrimination.
Mohd Izwan Md Yusof from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) clarified that his reported remark that there are 310,000 homesexuals in the country was only a “preliminary” figure and “not been finalised by the Ministry of Health Malaysia as quoted”.
The senior assistant director of Jakim’s family, social and community development division’s social unit, also gave an interpretation of “gay”.
“Gay according to the definition by Blanch Consulting, is a man that has same-sex attraction from the sexual, romantic and physical aspects.
“In relation to that, someone labelled gay is not necessarily someone who has carried out same-sex relations whether it is homosexual or sodomy. This group is just considered to have same-sex attraction,” he said in a statement.
Mohd Izwan said Jakim is committed to continue carrying out efforts to explain and give guidance through the “Mukhayyam” programme to provide “spiritual intervention” for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community who wish to have guidance.
“At the same time, Jakim calls on society to strengthen the family institution together and monitor the behaviour of their children to educate and provide religious understanding as best as they can,” he added.
The Mukhayyam programme is a programme by Jakim to rehabilitate those in the LGBT community, with Mohd Izwan yesterday saying that 1,450 people had received assistance via this programme with some going on to get married, while some had changed their dressing and some are controlling themselves from returning to that lifestyle.
Mohd Izwan yesterday said at a seminar that there were 173,000 homosexuals in Malaysia in 2013, reportedly revealing that the numbers have gone up to 310,000 this year.
He had also said that the transgender population in Malaysia had increased from 10,000 in 1988 to 30,000 this year.
In the same seminar on LGBT awareness, Mohd Izwan had urged society to not use derogatory terms against the LGBT community, saying that Muslims should provide counselling those who have an “LGBT lifestyle” to bring them back to the “right path” instead of hate them.