PETALING JAYA: Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) said if he were to become prime minister, he would make Malaysia a home for everyone, including the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.
In an Op-Ed on Malaysiakini, the former minister took Pakatan Harapan leaders to task for failing to defend the basic human rights of LGBTs, and instead joining in the public ridicule.
"Why are these 'reformists' and people who fought to change the system so afraid to defend and uphold human rights as an important universal principle for everyone?" he said without naming anyone in particular.
"I always thought (Pakatan) Harapan promised a shelter for everyone and a country to be shared by all.
"It's an easy promise to fulfil. If they can't do this, I hope someone can vacate a parliamentary seat for me," he quipped.
Highlighting the recent public caning of two lesbians in Terengganu, Zaid said the "LGBT-hatred" amongst the public as well as top leaders, senators and muftis all stemmed from an ignorance of basic science and physiology.
"No one chooses to be LGBT. I repeat: no one can choose to be straight or gay, tall or short, brown-eyed or black.
"We are born with physical and psychological characteristics that are totally outside our control.
"Also, being born LGBT isn't a punishment from God. God isn't cruel," he added.
Zaid said a person's sexual orientation is merely a matter of genetics.
"Homosexuality exists everywhere in human culture. This is why many governments around the world no longer criminalise it – the latest being India.
"For those who claim that homosexuality is against the order of nature, the fact is that it is common in the animal kingdom," he said.
He cited examples of rams, female Japanese macaques and other animals that have shown homosexual behaviour.
"We should be talking about science and biology and how to accept one another, instead of festering hate.
"They (LGBTs) are just like you and me. If Malaysia is not a home for them, where do we send them? Myanmar?" he said.