Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that same-sex marriage is “regressive.”
In an appearance at the Cambridge Union in the UK on Sunday (June 17), the 93-year-old leader railed against same-sex unions.
Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad: Gay people can’t have children so they shouldn’t get married
He claimed: “I don’t understand this gay marriage. Marriage is about producing children. Gay marriage, do they get children? What do they do? They adopt children and things like that.
“Today, the institution of marriage has been discarded, almost. No marriage, no family. What are we going to be?”
He added: “To us, this is a regressive way of thinking. Simply because you think people are free to do what they like.
“They feel like, ‘Marrying man and man, women marrying women, that’s okay as it is their right,’ but I think rights have got limits.
“There is no such thing as absolute right to do everything.”
Asked whether infertile and elderly straight couples should be blocked from getting married because they cannot have children, the leader replied: “If you get married, it must be between a man and a woman.”
The leader has also been condemned by Jewish groups over anti-Semitic remarks made in the speech.
Malaysian government is stacked with anti-LGBT politicians
The comments are only the latest anti-LGBT remarks from the leader, whose government is stacked with opponents of LGBT+ rights.
In August 2018, religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa sparked controversy when he ordered two portraits of LGBT+ Malaysian activists be removed from an art exhibition.
The same month, deputy prime minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told gay people to keep their sexuality secret, while Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye claimed that LGBT+ people suffer from an “organic disorder.”
Government minister Mahfuz Omar has also claimed LGBT+ people need to be helped to return to their “original identities” and that allowing people to be transgender would cause chaos in society.
As in many Commonwealth countries, gay sex is banned in Malaysia under a British Colonial-era penal code. A state-level form of Sharia law also operates in part of the country banning homosexuality and cross-dressing, which is used to persecute LGBT+ people.
The country has taken a sharp shift against LGBT+ rights since Mohamad returned to power in 2017, with a climate of fear and hostility leading to a crackdown on the gay community.
In August 2018, police raided The Blue Boy club, a gay bar in Kuala Lumpur.
Two women in the state of Terengganu state were caned in September 2018, receiving six lashes each after they were convicted of having a consensual same-sex relationship.