PETALING JAYA: The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) has condemned the discrimination against members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Malaysia.
This comes after a report claimed that Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had appointed former Subang DAP Youth publicity secretary Numan Afifi as his press officer.
Numan resigned from his party position last year after Islamic groups slammed him for organising a Pride Day breaking of fast event which he had organised under gay rights group Kempen Pelangi.
"Hakam notes the negative backlash towards the appointment of a person in the Youth and Sports Ministry simply because he/she is from the LGBT community or had in the past campaigned on LGBT issues," said Hakam secretary-general Lim Wei Jiet.
"No person should be denied opportunities in employment and career progression, be it within the public or private sphere, on grounds of sexual orientation," he said in a statement on Saturday.
Lim said the right to equality and non-discrimination is protected under our Federal Constitution.
He also said that the Constitution also includes the right to live with dignity and the right to earn a livelihood.
Article 2 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights also states that everyone is entitled to rights and freedoms regardless of sex.
"Hakam therefore urges the Government to uphold the above mentioned principles of equality and non-discrimination at all levels of appointment within the public service," said Lim.
Activist Pang Khee Teik also weighed in on the issue, saying that if Numan loses his job due to his sexual orientation, it would be a clear case of workplace discrimination.
"We voted Pakatan Harapan because among the five main thrusts of its manifesto is the promise to 'build an inclusive and moderate nation'," said Pang.
"Letting go of a staff due to his sexual orientation is a betrayal of those of us who bought into this promise," he said.
Pang said that if Numan is sacked, it would show other companies and employers that it is okay to dismiss or not hire LGBT staff.
"Pakatan... Don't make us lose harapan (hope) in you," he said.
Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq stressed that he had not "officially appointed" any officers and was still in the midst of interviewing candidates.
"I do not want to rush in making the appointments because I understand that leading the ministry is a great responsibility," he said in a Facebook post on Friday (July 6).
Numan told Malaysiakini that Syed Saddiq is a friend and his current role is to assist the Youth and Sports Minister until a new press secretary has been appointed.
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