There was an uproar among several influential people in the government after portraits of LGBT activists were removed at a photography exhibition in Georgetown Festival on Wednesday, 8 August
Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa ordered for the pictures of Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik to be taken down because they "were clearly promoting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activities" which are against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's policy, reported The Malay Mail.
"I fear a backlash on them, since the society still rejects their promotion, he told Malaysiakini, adding that the organiser (of the festival) should be more sensitive to respect and conserve the majority views.
"We received negative comments on the photos and I am worried there will be some anti-LGBT groups who will try to hurt them," he claimed to explain his decision, reported The Star.
However, he added that the action does not mean that the government disrespects the LGBT community.
Since then, several key leaders have expressed their opinions towards the decision.
One of which came from Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir who stood for the activists and told the Penang exhibit organisers to remove her portrait.
"I am asking for my photos to be taken down in solidarity with Pang and Nisha," Marina told Free Malaysia Today, adding that she was extremely sad about whole issue.
"When people say they are not treating LGBT Malaysians as second-class citizens, this is exact proof that discrimination exists. LGBTs in Malaysia are not asking for extra rights… just the same rights as everyone else."
Other leaders also expressed their dissent saying that there should be acceptance towards everyone even if we do not agree with them
State Women, Family, Non-Muslim Affairs, and Gender Inclusivity Committee chairman Chong Eng reiterated Yeoh's sentiments saying that there was no need to remove the photos of Nisha and Pang or to discriminate against anyone simply because of their sexual orientation.
"Do you think they want to be persecuted, discriminated, jeered at, made fun by others for the fun of it?" asked lawyer Siti Kasim
In a Facebook post uploaded today, she claimed that years of religious teachings have brainwashed people into demonising the LGBT community.
"Their plea is for them to be not discriminated, harassed, and persecuted and to be treated like any other human being."
PH candidate Heng Lee Lee initially said that such incidents should not be happening in Penang and demanded for an explanation from the state government