PETALING JAYA: Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said he respected his former press officer’s decision to resign following backlash over his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism.
In a “good-bye” tweet, the Youth and Sports Minister said Numan Afifi Saadan (pic) would always be his “bro”.
“Your service has been invaluable, bro, since our campaigning days.
“Stay strong and I’ll always respect your decision,” said Syed Saddiq. “You’ll always be a bro.”
Earlier, Numan wrote on Facebook that he had no choice but to step down.
“The backlash and threats from Opposition propagandists have made it impossible for me to exercise my duties, therefore I have decided not to work at the ministry in any official capacity,” Numan wrote.
He said he would be handing over his task to a new press secretary, who would be officially appointed in the near future.
Numan clarified that he was never officially appointed by the ministry.
“Saudara Syed Saddiq has respected my decision and stands firm against any form of discrimination, therefore I would like to ask for the polemics not be dragged any further,” he said, thanking Syed Saddiq for the stint.
“Hopefully, we get to live as a community in Malaysia that cherishes diversity without prejudice.”
Syed Saddiq came under fire last week after critics voiced out against Numan being the organiser of a Pride Day breaking of fast event held in 2017.
They insisted that it was inappropriate for a “champion of LGBT causes” to be a government staff member.
The Muar MP responded, saying that Numan was not officially appointed and that the ministry was still interviewing potential candidates for the position.
LGBT activists said it would be a clear case of workplace discrimination for Numan to lose his job over his sexual orientation.
Meanwhile, Klang MP Charles Santiago stood up for Numan with a strong statement reiterating that gay rights were human rights, too.
Before Numan’s resignation, Santiago released a statement on Sunday pledging solidarity with Numan but was also criticised for supporting the LGBT community. Despite the condemnation, Santiago was indignant.
“My press statement pledging solidarity with Numan Afifi, calling on the government to decriminalise homosexuality and repeal all laws that discriminate against the LGBT community is in line with the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Santiago said.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Santiago said the government has a duty to protect the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their sexuality and gender identity.
“In asking for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, I am advocating for the safeguarding of the civil liberties of this minority group,” he said.