Tourism Minister Claims There Are No Gays In Malaysia

Malaysia’s Tourism Minister has caused outrage at the world’s largest travel fair in Germany by claiming that there are no gays in his country.

The remark was made by S.E. Datuk Mohammaddin bin Ketapi, who is the Malaysian Minister of Tourism, at the 2019 ITB Berlin, the world’s largest annual tourism trade fair.

This year, Malaysia is the ITB’s official partner country and a journalist asked the minister at a press conference whether or not the country was safe to visit for gays and Jews.

Credit: CEN
Malaysian tourism minister S.E. Datuk Mohammaddin bin Ketapi (middle) during the opening press conference of ITB Berlin 2019

Ketapi refused to respond directly and said that he did not come to the German capital to answer such questions.

However, when asked a similar question, Ketapi answered: “Homosexuality? I don’t think we have anything like that in our country. Whether it is safe or not, I cannot answer.”

The Southeast Asian country, which has a Sunni Muslim majority, had already been criticised by German politicians after being chosen as the ITB’s official partner country.

Green politician Volker Beck, a former MP who once chaired a German-Israeli parliamentary group, slammed the Malay government over their position towards Jews and homosexuals.

Credit: CEN
Berlin Trade Fair chief Dr. Christian Goeke

He claimed that the Malay government “boycotts Israel and its citizens, and punishes homosexuality in their country with corporal punishment such as lashes”.

Berlin Trade Fair chief Dr Christian Goeke refused to take a side in the row, saying: “We are hosts and a host listens and takes note.”

Dr Goeke added that the exchange could help to “simplify” dialogue about LGBT rights and antisemitism.

Around 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries and regions take part in the trade fair, which last year was visited by approximately 170,000 visitors.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Koen BerghuisSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News


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