ELECTION TALK: If Elton John or Neil Patrick Harris were to run for public office in the UK and USA, I suppose nobody will say anything.
The thing is they are openly gay and both are now happily married to their respective partners. No big deal if Elton is elected to the British Parliament or Neil has a successful run for the US Senate or Congress. UK has legalised same sex marriage while some states in the US have legislated similar laws.
But it’s certainly not something that is easily acceptable in Malaysia – gays and members of the LGBT community running for public office.
Which is why it is kind of surprising that an opposition party in Sarawak has named a gay candidate for the May 7 state election.
Now, no one in this country will openly admit that he is a gay or a lesbian. This is something best left unsaid.
But the funny thing is that the particular candidate, in his 40’s and single, has been accused of being gay by his many political detractors and not once did he come out to deny it.
Considered a very immature politician, he had previously engaged himself in arguments and quarrels with others on Facebook. The “gay” comment was a favourite ‘hit’ against him. Surprisingly, he did not deny that he is gay.
Now, it would be unfair to assume that he is gay just because he did not deny it but then, one of his FB “enemies” fired at him, “Only a desperate and stupid party will want you, a gay, to be a candidate”. And he didn’t react to that. It’s also possible that he was ‘caught’.
I have nothing but respect for the LGBT community. Some are born into it while others develop certain peculiar sexual tendencies later in life. It’s not something they or we would want to talk about openly.
Interestingly, Deputy IGP Noor Rashid Ibrahim stated in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that those who are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) cannot join the police force even if they are qualified
He explained that the ‘LGBT culture’ cannot be accepted here owing to community and cultural sentiments.
“Till today, the LGBT culture is not accepted in this country, so based on that principle, we still maintain the current quota for men and women.
“If they have the qualifications, they have to adhere to the practices accepted in this country,” the Malay Mail quoted Noor Rashid as saying.
I would not consider that as discrimination from the police force against the LGBT community. It is likely that the duties of a police officer may not be suitable for them.
Similarly, they could face similar sticky situations in politics. More so that Islam is the official religion of this nation, so it is too in Sarawak.
We have a famous political figure now in Sg Buloh prison after he was found guilty of sodomy. Not too long ago, we heard of the widely-publicised scandal of a “lesbian minister” purchasing a luxurious car for a girlfriend.
If you were to ask me whether it is okay to field a gay candidate in the Sarawak elections, my answer is this, “It’s not wrong but it is not advisable to do so. I hope that opposition party can find a replacement”.
Sarawak is not the land of Elton John or Neil Patrick Harris.