The LGBT Quandary in New Malaysia

16 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2019

Date Written: November 19, 2019


Following Malaysia’s historic General Election in May 2018, many communities looked forward to a more progressive administration under the Pakatan Harapan coalition. One expectation was that the new government would uphold human rights, including for LGBTs. Within the first three months of its rule, however, several highly publicised episodes about the treatment of LGBTs raised serious doubts about how different the new government would be to its Barisan Nasional predecessor. This article reveals that despite the two administrations appearing to have the same politics on sexual and gender marginals, there are some key differences. It also argues that the current official response to LGBTs is heavily influenced by the legacy of the previous regime: restrictive laws; politicised ethnicity and religion; and an ethically-challenged media. Advocacy to improve LGBT lives in new Malaysia thus needs to take these into account, at the same time considering new ways of seeking change given the limits of pre-existing efforts.

Suggested Citation

tan, beng hui, The LGBT Quandary in New Malaysia (November 19, 2019). Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, article 15, 2019. Available at SSRN:

Beng hui Tan (Contact Author)

Independent Researcher ( email )

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