SEX, PROSTITUTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY IN MALAYSIA

SEX AND NOSE KISSING IN MALAYSIA

Researchers from Malaysia's Merdeka Center for Opinion Research and Indonesia's Lembaga Survei found that only 1.4 percent of young Indonesians and 1.6 percent of young Malaysians polled said premarital sex was acceptable. [Source: Sean Yoong, AP, July 12, 2011]

For some tribes in Borneo the word "kiss" means "smell." In the old days Maori, Malays, Pacific Islanders and Inuits (Eskimos) preferred to rub noses rather than kiss. Describing Malay nose-rubbing Charles Darwin wrote: "The women squatted with their faces upturned; my attendants stood leaning over theirs, and commenced rubbing. It lasted somewhat longer than a hearty handshake with us. During this process they uttered a grunt of satisfaction."

Malaysia is a leading producer of latex condoms. The use of condoms however is sensitive issue. Love hotels that charge about $15 for a two hour stay are a popular places for young couple to have sex.

Malaysia held a “world's exhibition on adultery.” The 160 exhibits at the Malaysia's National Theater included replicas of medieval chastity belts, posters from Hollywood movies with adultery themes, and painting with the body parts painted out. The turn out was less than expected. Some officials worried it may have helped to promote adultery rather than curtail it.

Terengganu has passed a law making “illegal sex” (adultery) a crime.

Majority of Malaysians are Satisfied in Bed

In 2012, Simone Camy of MSN wrote: “Durex conducted a survey that explains to us that most Malaysians are getting it right in bed! In conjunction with Valentine's Day, Durex has come up with a survey and this Sexual Well-Being Global Survey has shown that the best gift a man can give to his partner is love. According to the survey, almost 89 percent of Malaysian women agree that sex brings them closer to their partners on an emotional level. The pleasant surprise is that Malaysian men seem to be doing well in bed, as 88 percent of Malaysian women say they feel loved during sex. About 65 percent of Malaysian women and 70 percent of men believe that the emotional aspects of sex - feeling loved, being respected and intimacy - are more important to women than men. [Source: Simone Camy, MSN, February 17, 2012]

Malaysian men and women are also doing well in making their partners happy, with 89 percent of men and 81 percent of women saying their partner is good at providing them with sexual pleasure. 'Sexual well-being is a balance of physical, emotional and sociological factors. It is a fundamental source of confidence and a driver of life. It is great to see that Malaysians seem to be getting it right when it comes to love and sex,' commented Nikhilesh Kalra, Marketing Director, Malaysia and Singapore, Reckitt Benckiser.

The Sexual Well-being Global Survey, commissioned by Durex, was conducted to gain global consumer insights into sexual attitudes and behaviours. The survey is aimed at offering evidence and insights in shaping effective, strategic approaches to improve sexual health and well-being. It was conducted in 36 countries with a total of 29,003 adults aged 18 and above and the Malaysian results have a base of 506 participants!

Koro

Koro is a mental disorder found in Malaysia (similar to other disorders found elsewhere in East Asia) characterized by intense anxiety that one’s sexual organs will recede into the body. Some afflicted with it become so obsessed with the delusion they mutilate themselves, in some cases causing death. There are occasional epidemics of the disorder. One in Singapore in the 1960s was quite famous. [Source: Cultural Mental Illness: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by American Psychology Association.]

Professor Kua Ee Heok of the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore, wrote in Transcultural Psychiatry: “Koro refers to a syndrome, which has for its central theme a fear of death due to the person’s conviction that his penis is shrinking into the abdomen. The panic-stricken man often clutches on to his penis with bewildered spouse and relatives assisting. The term koro is thought to derive from the Malay word kura which means “tortoise” – the symbolic meaning is that the penile retraction is compared with the retraction of the head of the tortoise into its shell. The syndrome in traditional Chinese medicine is known as suo-yang, which literally means shrinkage of the male sexual organ. In women it may take the form of retraction of the vulval labia or nipple.

“Koro is often viewed as a form of panic disorder with the symptom-complex of fear of penile retraction and impending death, palpitations, sweating, breathlessness and paraesthesia. The factors, which contribute to the occurrence of koro, include beliefs and attitudes pertaining to sexuality. A common Chinese belief is that the loss of semen weakens the body, and loss of yang occurs with masturbation and nocturnal emission. The loss of semen through sexual excesses is thought in traditional Chinese belief to lead to fatal ill-health. Personality traits associated with koro have been described as nervous temperament, suggestibility, sensitivity and immaturity.” [Ibid]

In the Singapore Medical Journal (1963, 4, 119-121), Dr. Gwee AL, describes a Koro case involving a male Chinese aged 34, seen on 24 March 1956: “He was at a cinema show when he felt the need to micturate. He went out to the latrine in the foyer and, as he was easing himself, he felt a sudden loss of feeling in the genital region, and straightaway, the thought occurred to him that he was going to get penile retraction. Sure enough, he soon noticed that he penis was getting shorter. Intensely alarmed, he held on to his penis with his right hand and shouted for help, which however was not forthcoming as the latrine was deserted during the show. He felt cold in the limbs, and was weak all over, and his legs gave way under him. So he sat down on the floor, all this time holding on to his penis. About half an hour later, the attack abated.”

Koro is very rare these days. But a new mental disease has appeared among the Chinese. Known to the Chinese as wi han zheng, it is a “fear of being cold.” Those afflicted with the disorder put gloves, wool hats and coats even when the weather is sweltering.

Koro and Chinese Ideas About Health

Nearly all the who suffered from koro have been Chinese men. Some sources cite a role in Chinese metaphysical beliefs, where abnormal sexual acts (visiting prostitutes, masturbation or nocturnal emissions) disturb the yin-yang balance, leading to a loss of the yang (or male) force with accompanying consequences on key organs.

Ng Beng Yeong, an expert in culture-bound syndromes at the Woodbridge Hospital and Institute of Mental Health in Singapore and author of a seminal 1991 paper on koro, told the New York Times: "What struck me with koro is that here was a mental disease that was directly caused by the traditional Chinese conception of health. It came from inside the culture. Nearly all the men who suffered from koro were ethnic Chinese." In a conceptual system, he explains, which emphasizes opposing male and female "energies" -- think yin and yang -- men tend to be obsessed with their masculinity, which they fear can be sapped from them. A koro-like affliction, Ng explains, appears in ancient Chinese medical texts, where it is known as suo-yang. [Source: Lawrence Osborne, New York Times magazine, May 6, 2001 ++]

"In ancient China, castration was the most feared punishment," Yeong said, "So when you felt anxious or unwell, you would often become obsessed with your penis." But in 1967, he goes on, there was an added factor contributing to the koro epidemic on the Malaysian peninsula. Racial tensions between Muslim Malays and non-Muslim Chinese were running high, and among the Chinese there was a virulent rumor that the Malays had poisoned their pork. The atmosphere was primed for hysteria. "Koro was like a collective anxiety attack," Ng concludes. "It was the manifestation of social unease." ++

Lawrence Osborne wrote in the New York Times magazine, “ In recent years, koro has almost disappeared from the Chinese diaspora in the Malacca Straits and Singapore. "It's almost as if changing social conditions produce changing syndromes," the Yeong said. But it has been replaced by equally strange phenomena: a condition that the Chinese call wei han zheng, or "fear of being cold." Ng calls it frigophobia. Patients bundle up in the steamy Singapore heat, wearing wool hats and gloves. Like koro, he explains, frigophobia seems to stem from Chinese cultural beliefs about the spiritual qualities of heat and cold. "I don't really know," he laughs. "Maybe it's just a reaction to mass air-conditioning. Frigophobia is so new, it doesn't even exist in the psychiatric literature. So far, it's unique to Singapore. I'm as perplexed by it as anyone else. I wonder if it will be in D.S.M.-V." ++

"One thing I've noticed," Yeong said, "is that modern psychiatry is essentially a Western import." In the East, Ng continues, patients tend not to distinguish between mind and body. "Our patients rarely talk about their moods per se, the way people in the West do," he explains. So even with mental afflictions that appear to have a clear biological basis -- like schizophrenia -- people's ways of expressing them are shaped by culture. ++

Great Koro Epidemic of 1967

7In 1967 there was an outbreak of koro following press reports of Koro cases due to the consumption of pork from a pig that had been inoculated against swine fever. The epidemic struck in October 1967 for about ten days. Newspapers initially reported that some people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with anti-swine-flu vaccine. A headline from the Straits Times on November 5, 1967 read: “A Strange Malady Hits Singapore Men.” Rumours relating eating pork and koro spread after a further report of an inoculated pig dying from penile retraction. The cases reported amounted to 97 in a single hospital unit within one day, at five days after the original news report. Government and medical officials alleviated the outbreak only by public announcements over television and in the newspapers. [Source: The annotated budak, , May 14, 2006, Wikipedia]

Dr. Gwee authored a study (in the Singapore Medical Journal 1969, 10, 234-242) about the 1967 epidemic, which affected over 500 persons. He wrote: “ …before the outbreak of the epidemic, there was concern about chickens being injected with oestrogen to increase their growth. Some men were afraid that the oestrogen in the chicken would cause gynaecomastia and avoided chicken meat. At about the same time, there was a rumour that contaminated pork was being sold on the market and that diseased pigs were being inoculated against swine fever. This triggered off the epidemic and a possible explanation of the outbreak is that the inoculation of the pigs was seen to be similar to the injection of chickens with oestrogen." His report also noted that the epidemic “subsided rapidly after ressurance and explanation from the doctors through television, radio and newspaper.”

Chris Buckle of the University of Ottawa wrote in his study “A Conceptual History of Koro”: “In July 1967, all swine in the country were inoculated with an anti-swine fever vaccine. It was an event that brought much public concern and considerable media attention. On October 29, 1967, rumors began to circulate that the consumption of this inoculated pork was causing men’s genitalia to retract. It is unknown how, why or where in Singapore the rumors began. However, there is some evidence that the kosher Malays were blamed for the event, an accusation in line with the background of racial tension that plagued Singapore in the nineteen sixties. While this idea was not described in the government controlled Chinese or English language media, personal accounts do give it credence.

“On October 30th a small Chinese language paper reported that “people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with anti-swine fever vaccine”. A few days later, the same paper reported that an inoculated pig had died from penile retraction.” Within the week, public hospitals were seeing hundreds of koro patients, and Buckle notes that no statistics exist for the presumably high number of individuals who were treated by family or traditional Chinese physicians. It was reported that "men resorted to clamps, pegs, and even weights to ensure that their tackle remained in its rightful place."

“An alarmed Ministry of National Development issued an immediate statement claiming that ‘no one in Singapore need worry over the safety of pork from pigs slaughtered at the government abattoir where every carcass is carefully examined and stamped as fit for human consumption before they are released to the market’”. The outbreak subsided after press statements by the Singapore Medical Association that “koro is a culturally determined form of emotional ill-health affecting primarily the Chinese…the present incidence of koro is essentially due to fear and rumors which have no foundation”. Meanwhile, advertisements for Australian pork began to appear in the papers. The Chinese-language Nanyang also reported that a man in the ministry of production had apologised for comments about the link between the swine vaccine and koro. The final nail on koro’s coffin came with the televised statement of the Deputy Director of Medical Services, Dr. Lim Guan Ho, who stressed that koro “is only a disease of the mind and the victim requires no medical treatment at all.”

Malaysian Couple Face Year in Jail for Kissing in Public

In March 2006, Malaysia's highest court has ruled that two young people accused of kissing and hugging in a public park can be charged with indecent behaviour, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of 2000 ringgit (543 dollars) or both. AFP reported: “The federal court in the mainly Muslim nation made the ruling in a hard-fought case involving Ooi Kean Thong, 24, and Siow Ai Wei, 22. The couple were allegedly caught embracing and kissing by city hall officials in August 2003 in a park at the city's iconic Twin Towers. [Source: AFP, SAPA, April 4, 2006 /=/]

“The students have said they received summonses for indecent behaviour when they refused to bribe two city hall officials, who have denied the claims. Their lawyer S. Selvam argued that hugging and kissing were expressions of love that should be encouraged, and that city hall had no right under Malaysia's constitution to charge the couple with indecency. But federal court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said such behaviour was not the norm for Malaysians. "So they should be given freedom to live as they like? The constitution allows all citizens to do that (hugging and kissing) even by the roadside, in public park?" he said. "In England, those acts are acceptable to the people in that country, but is kissing and hugging acceptable to Malaysian citizens? Is the act according to the morality of the Asian people?" /=/

After the couple was charged for kissing in public, a dozen demonstrators led by the opposition Democratic Action Party’s youth wing held hands and waved heart-shaped placards that read “You have the right to kiss” and “Not guilty of hugging” and a banner reading “No to moral policing”. “We want to send a message that it is inappropriate for local government to be the moral police,” DAP youth wing deputy chief Chong Chieng Jen told AFP. “The thing about morality is that it differs among different races and religions.” “It defies the spirit of our constitution and also freedom of religion,” he said. “If we do not check the trend now we are heading towards a real Islamic state, or going backwards to the medieval time.” [Source: AFP, April 13, 2006 +=+]

AFP reported: “The protesters said that while they opposed public indecency, the current law was too vague and liable to abuse and should not be enforced by local authorities. “There should be a uniform law applicable throughout Malaysia stating clearly what amounts to indecency,” they said in a statement. The protesters accused the city authorities of applying Islamic or Shariah legal principles on both Muslimsand the non-Muslim Chinese and Indian communities. “This is a manifestation of Islamisation of Malaysia without respecting the rights and freedom of the non-Muslims,” they said. Malaysia’s Bar Council spoke out against the ruling, saying displays of affection are common here and that indecency charges should only be applied to maintain public order, and not because behaviour had offended individuals. +=+

Malaysian Men Top Viagra Users

Malaysian men are the world's biggest consumer of Viagra, it Malaysian distributor said in 2001. The BBC reported: “The company, Pfizer Malaysia, said 40,000 Malaysians had been taking the anti-impotency pill regularly since it was made available on prescription more in 1999. The study showed that half of the men were diabetic, while the rest suffered from hypertension, high cholesterol levels or were smokers. Health Minister Chua Jui Meng said the revelation was "alarming"."It's a cause for concern and not a cause for celebration," he told the Star newspaper. He said some men might be tempted to use the drug to enhance sexual performance, rather than because of medial problems. [Source: BBC, November 5, 2001]

The drug is available on prescription in major pharmacies in Malaysia for $10 (38 ringgit) for a 50mg pill and $12.60 for a 100mg pill. Malaysia had a total population of about 22 million people at that time. In 1999, two months after the drug was first marketed in Malaysia, the organisers of a charity golf tournament decided to withdraw a year's supply of Viagra as the top prize. Pfizer Malaysia was one of the sponsors of the tournmanent, but there were a number of complaints that the prize would encourage abuse of the drug. Viagra was initially developed to treat high blood pressure and certain symptoms of heart disease. However, scientists discovered during trials that it also could be used to treat sexual problems in men.

In 2009, Viagra-laced coffee was confiscated after selling as 'energy drink.' Associated Press reported: “More than 900 boxes of Viagra-laced coffee confiscated in Malaysia were being marketed as an energy booster, newkerala.com reported. “The coffee mixture had been distributed in sachets nationwide,” said a report in the New Straits Times Online. “Investigations revealed the distributor attempted to mislead the public by claiming the coffee mixture could provide an energy boost, besides being beneficial for men.” [Source: AP, Fox News, July 06, 2009]

Islamic Spies to Snoop Rumoured Malaysian 'Sex Party'

In December 2008, AFP reported: “Malaysian authorities have condemned rumoured plans for a New Year's Eve sex party at a remote beach, while police warned the "no-underwear" event could be a con job. Newspaper reports said the party for the under-40s, to be held in southern Johor state bordering Singapore, was being advertised through a website that asked for 250 ringgit (72 dollars) as an entrance fee. "A sex party is against our culture and religion and if it went on, it would damage the country's reputation worldwide," Tourism Minister Azalina Othman said according to the New Straits Times newspaper on Tuesday. "There are other events organised to usher the New Year which are hip, fun and suitable to our culture." [Source: AFP, December 29, 2008]

“Party organisers had reportedly said that male guests were banned from wearing briefs to the event, while women were only permitted to wear G-string underwear which had to be removed after midnight. Johor criminal investigation department chief Amer Awal warned that the sex party was likely to be a fraud designed to cheat potential partygoers out of the ticket price. "The idea of organising such a party is far-fetched but the state Religious Department and local councils have all been informed," he told the New Straits Times, adding that authorities would be on alert.

In February 2007, Reuters reported: “The Terengganu state government plans to enlist the part-time spies to look out for un-Islamic behavior, such as unmarried couples kissing or holding hands, report them to Islamic religious authorities the Star daily said. "Some of these 'spies' could be waitresses or even janitors at hotels acting as auxiliary undercover agents for our religious department," the head of the state government's Islamic and welfare committee, Rosol Wahid, was quoted as saying. "Accurate details are required for the enforcement officers to act, otherwise they could be pouncing on married couples." In October 2006, religious police in another part of Malaysia caused an outcry when they mistakenly raided the rented holiday apartment of a Christian American couple on suspicion that they were unmarried Muslims in "close proximity." [Source: Reuters, February 20, 2007]

Caning in Malaysia for Adultery and Having Sex in a Car

In September 2009, an Islamic court ordered an unmarried couple to be caned for trying to have sex in a car. Associated Press reported: “The Shariah High Court in central Selangor state sentenced the couple to six strokes of the cane after they pleaded guilty to trying to have sex out of wedlock in their car, said prosecutor Shafezan Rusli. Shafezan said Islamic religious police caught Mohamad Shahrin Abdul Majid, 29, and Nadiah Najat Hussin, 24, with only their undergarments on in a car at an office parking lot. He said they are appealing the caning as they plan to get married soon, though they have paid the court-ordered fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) each. They could have been jailed for up to three years for the offense, the lawyer said. [Source: Associated Press, September 18, 2009]

In February 2010, three women were caned in Malaysia under Islamic law for committing adultery, the first such case in the country. Two of the women were whipped six times while the third received four strokes of the rotan (cane). Al-Jazeera reported: “Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, the Malaysian home affairs minister, said the sentences were carried out 9 after a sharia court found them guilty of extra-marital sex. "It was carried out perfectly," Hishamuddin said in a statement. "Even though the caning did not injure them [the women], they said it caused pain within them." He said one woman was released after the caning, another was freed a few days later while the third set free four months later. [Source: Al-Jazeera, February 18 2010 \\\\]

“The women, and four men, were caned following a decision in the religious courts, Hishamuddin said. His comments came as authorities were preparing to cane another Muslim woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, who was arrested in 2009 for drinking beer and sentenced to six strokes of the cane. The case, when first reported, raised concerns that the nation's secular status is under threat, eroding the rights of some 40-45 percent of the country's ethnic minorities. ////

“Hishammuddin said Kartika's case had flagged concerns about how women should be flogged and that the recent canings demonstrated that the prisons department can carry out punishments in accordance with Islamic law. Under the sharia, the women have to be whipped in a seated position by a female prison guard and be fully clothed. "I hope this will not be misunderstood so much that it defiles the purity of Islam," Hishammuddin said, according to state media. "The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in future." ////

“The caning, however, has raised new questions about whether a state religious court can sentence women to be caned when federal law precludes women from such a punishment, while men below 50 can be punished by caning. The case is expected to fuel a debate over rising "Islamisation" in Malaysia, where religious courts have been clamping down on moral offences, as well as a ban on Muslims consuming alcohol that had been rarely enforced. ////

“News of the women's caning sparked public outrage, with lawyers and rights groups blaming the government for allowing it. Ragunath Kesavan, president of the Malaysian Bar, said it was worrying that the punishment had gone ahead even as the caning issue was being hotly debated by Muslim scholars, religious groups and human rights activists. "The impression was that Kartika's case would be the first so I've got no idea what has happened," he said. "It's not as if this is the Middle East... it's not a good signal that they're [the government] sending out." "We are against any form of corporal punishment, for men or women," Kesavan said. "The fact is that any form of whipping is barbaric." Sisters in Islam, a local group of Muslim women activists, said the caning "constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia". ////

Mass Arrests During Malaysia’s Valentine's Day Raids

In February 2011, Islamic morality police in Malaysia arrested more than 80 Muslims in an operation to stop them celebrating Valentine's Day. The BBC reported: “Officers raided budget hotels in the central state of Selangor and capital, Kuala Lumpur, detaining unmarried Muslim couples who were sharing rooms. The religious authorities in Malaysia say Valentine's Day is synonymous with immoral activities. Those arrested could be jailed for up to two years if convicted. The anti-Valentine's Day campaign by the country's Islamic authorities goes back to a fatwa issued in 2005.” [Source: BBC, February 15, 2011 ++]

“During the evening of Valentine's Day, “religious enforcement officers launched co-ordinated raids, targeting budget hotels and public parks in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. In Selangor alone, officials said 80 people were detained for khalwat or close proximity - an Islamic law that prevents unmarried Muslims from being alone with someone of the opposite sex. In the capital, officials detained 16 mainly teenage Muslims, who had paid about 50 ringgit (£9) for a hotel room for two hours, according to a report from the AFP news agency. ++

“The raids stem from a campaign launched last week by the religious authorities, called Mind the Valentine's Day Trap. The government-run Department of Islamic Development said Valentine's Day was "synonymous with vice activities" and that it contravened Islamic teachings. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had labelled Monday's celebration as "not suitable" for Muslims. ++

“Other faiths were not affected by the boycott. But not all Malaysian Muslims agreed with the campaign, with some saying Valentine's Day is harmless. Human rights groups say actions such as the Valentine's Day ban harm Malaysia's image as a moderate and progressive Muslim-majority state.” ++

Malaysia Says No to Sex Education

In April 2010, Malaysian authorities said that Sex Education is unnecessary in Malaysian schools and will not be introduced as a specific subject. The New Straits Times reported: “Deputy Education Minister Datuk Puad Zarkashi said at present, elements of sex education in schools are already incorporated in a subject known as social and reproductive health studies. The subject was introduced in secondary schools in 1989 and in primary schools in 1994. "Social and reproductive health studies is taught under health education and encompasses curricula of a wide variety of subjects such as biology, science, additional science, moral studies and religious education," he said. "As such, there is no need for a specific subject called sex education," he added. [Source: New Straits Times, April 28, 2010]

This decision appears to close the discussion on sex education in Malaysia, an issue which has received support from some ministries and organisations. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil has expressed concern on the matter in light of a recent spate of abandoned babies. The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) has also come on record to support the proposal for sex education in schools, although secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng voiced some reservations. She said teachers are not confident in teaching sex education as they have acknowledged the lack of formal training in the complexity and sensitivity of the subject.

Puad said social and reproductive health studies teachers have attended courses held by experienced trainers. "These courses are designed to expose the teachers to the proper approach which should be adopted in teaching the subject. "Our present syllabus also includes modules on the importance of making the right decisions where sex is concerned," he said. Parents should also play their role in discussing sex education with their children and advising them accordingly. "This will lessen the sensitivity factor related to sexual activities. Parents cannot leave the issue of sex for teachers to handle, they must also speak to their children about it.”

Sex Scandals in Malaysia

In January 2008, Malaysia's health minister resigned after acknowledging that he and a female friend were the couple in a secretly filmed sex video. Sean Yoong of Associated Press wrote: “A one-hour DVD recording circulated anonymously last week showed Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, a married man with three children, performing sexual acts with the woman in a hotel room. Chua, 61, acknowledged he was the man in the video, and described the woman as a "personal friend." He refused to elaborate. The former physician has risen fast in the government in recent years, but the scandal turned into a high-profile embarrassment for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who brought Chua into the Cabinet in 2004. [Source: Sean Yoong, Associated Press, January 2, 2008]

“Chua told reporters he felt the need to take responsibility for his actions. "I think that anyone who is a leader has to be responsible for his mistakes or weaknesses," Chua said. "I feel proud at least I dared to admit. I never said that it was not me (in the DVD). I never even said that it was doctored." But he said that he had discovered that people "could not accept" his public apology."Some Malaysians have a holier-than-thou attitude," he said. Chua had apologized to his family and supporters. He said he did not make the film, suggesting it was made by his political rivals. In a statement, Chua's wife said she stood by her husband. As health minister, Chua has been praised for cutting bureaucratic delays in the medical service and working to combat AIDS, smoking and poor eating habits.” [Ibid]

In April 2013, Malaysiakini reported: “Eight days before nomination day, a video claiming to be of a senior PAS leader having sex with an unknown woman in what appeared to be a hotel room has made its way in several PRO-UMNO bloggers. It depicted a man having sex with an unidentified woman and afterwards getting dressed. Pro-Umno blogger Papagomo has alleged that the woman was paid by PKR, suggesting infighting within the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition. Checks this morning revealed the clip has been taken down by video-sharing service provider YouTube . The Star today reported that images of the video were found in several blogs, such as Kedahan69ers.com and Medan Info Kita . According to the English daily and Utusan Malaysia, police have detected attempts to distribute video compact discs of the purported leader in Besut, Terengganu. [Source: Malaysiakini , April 12, 2013]

“The VCDs and the pornographic images of the leader were placed in an unmarked envelope and distributed to several houses in Kampung Alor Lintang, Besut Terengganu Criminal Investigation Department chief K Manoharan confirmed the video distribution and following the incident, police went to the area to investigate and seized 16 VCDs. "However, the person who distributed the videos could not be detected," said Manoharan, who declined to reveal more, saying that police have yet to view the contents of the video.” [Ibid]

Malaysian Female MP Pressured to Quits over Nude Photos

In February 2009, a prominent Malaysian woman opposition politician resigned her assembly seat after nude photographs of her were circulated on mobile phones as she slammed the government for indulging in "gutter politics". Press Trust of India reported: “Elizabeth Wong, who is Selangor state executive council member and assembly person from Bukit Lanjan, tendered her resignation to her People's Justice Party (PJP). Wong (37), one of Malaysia's top human rights activists said it a plot to discredit her and blamed the current government for indulging in "gutter politics". Opposition leader and PJP chief Anwar Ibrahim said: "No one in the party is pressurising her to leave," he said, adding that he was concerned with the "pattern of tarnishing the opposition party MPs' reputation." "This is a nasty, humiliating personal attack on her and we have seen this pattern of attack in the states of Perak, Kedah and now, in Selangor," he said. "Eli (Wong) is an important leader in our state government with a good track record. We leave it to the wisdom of the Selangor chief minister whether to accept her resignation," Anwar said. [Source: Press Trust of India, February 17, 2009]

Two months later, IANS reported: Wong “has been asked to resume her duties, officials said.” She “had lodged a police report after the photos surfaced in February, claiming they were circulated without her consent. Selangor Chief Minister Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said Wong, 37, has been asked to stay on and resume her duties. The state government believes this is an appropriate and fair decision after taking into consideration views from all quarters, public interest and the fact that police investigations have to date failed to reach a conclusion, Khalid was quoted as saying by the Star online news portal.He said Wong was a victim of intrusion of privacy, and therefore should not be the one to be punished. [Source: IANS, April 15, 2009]

“Local news reports had said the photos were believed to have been taken by her ex-boyfriend without her knowledge in her home. Police have yet to find the suspect for questioning. Wong, who is a well-known human rights activist and is single, had said the scandal was an attempt to discredit her party, led by former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim. [Ibid]

“Sexy” Vietnamese in Malaysia

Reporting from Kuala Lumpur, Neville Spykerman wrote in the Malay Mail: “Taman Sri Bahagia, which houses hundreds of foreign workers, has been labelled "Little Vietnam" for a good reason. The number of Vietnamese there, combined with those of other nationalities, easily overwhelms the locals. But what is worrying the locals are what they claimed to be the embarrassing sexual activities. A resident, who declined to be identified, said the Vietnamese were the dominant community. A dozen terrace houses have been converted into hostels housing between 25 and 50 workers from Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia. When The Malay Mail visited the housing estate, petite and pretty Vietnamese women were seen on the streets and by the windows of their houses. They are legally employed at factories in Tampoi and buses arrive several times a day to ferry them to and from work. [Source: Neville Spykerman, Malay Mail, The New Straits Times, February 28, 2004 ^*^]

“However, residents claimed these women have attracted a constant stream of local and foreign men to the area to court them. Residents said that besides amorous couples sitting outside their gates till the early morning, there were those who had sex behind the bushes and trees. Another irate resident said that his nine-year-old son told him that he saw a man being "breast-fed" by a woman two weeks ago. ^*^

“A 38-year-old businessman said that his son picked up a used condom and asked if it was a balloon. He has since switched rooms with his son so that the son would not be able to witness the amorous couples in action. The Malay Mail team who surveyed the stretch of land behind Jalan Sri Bahagia 16 on Thursday found several used condoms and old newspapers and wooden planks used by the lovers as bedding during their love-making. The businessman said that he had spoken to the supervisors of the factories nearby to keep their workers in check, but his pleas have obviously gone unheeded. ^*^

Sex Trafficking and Prostitutes in Malaysia

Some of the prostitutes in Malaysia are teenage girls from Indonesia that have been lured away from their villages with promises of good jobs, are smuggled into Malaysia and sold to human traffickers who in turn sell the girls to brothels and pimps, mostly in Sarawak. The going price in Sarawak for a girl who has never had sex is $3,000.

In October 2009, Associated Press reported: “Police detained a Malaysian couple on suspicion of sending hundreds of women to Europe and Australia to become sex workers, an official said. The arrests come amid a crackdown on human trafficking after the U.S. State Department criticized the Malaysian government in June for allegedly failing to combat the problem. Police detained a man and a woman believed to part of an international syndicate based in Kuala Lumpur, said Hadi Ho Abdullah, deputy director of the federal police crime investigation department. The suspects allegedly promised hundreds of Malaysian women lucrative jobs abroad, but instead sold them to prostitution syndicates in Australia and Europe, The Star newspaper reported. Smuggling adults is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. [Source: AP, October 10, 2009]

In October 2011, Jennifer Pak of the BBC wrote: “Malaysian police say they have broken up a ring of human traffickers who forced Ugandan women into prostitution. Twenty-one women, mainly in their 20s, have been released in a sting operation by the police. They were lured with promises of lucrative jobs, before being sent to China and then Malaysia where they ended up as sex slaves. The Ugandan women were trapped in an apartment block near Kuala Lumpur. Over the last three months, they were forced to have sex with customers for 10 hours a day./-/

“The women were beaten and raped by their captors if they tried to refuse. One victim relayed her ordeal to a Ugandan embassy official who posed as a customer. Malaysian police then put the apartment block under surveillance for two weeks before storming in to rescue the women. Two females were arrested for trafficking. /-/

“Malaysia is used as both a transit point and destination country for human traffickers. The government has often been criticised for its weak enforcement and there are allegations that some of its immigration officers are involved in human trafficking. That is why Malaysia has been placed on the US government's human trafficking watch list for the past few years. Police say this latest bust shows that they are serious about tackling the problem. /-/

Chinese Women Working as Prostitutes in Malaysia

An increasing number of young women in Yunnan Province are willingly going to Thailand and Malaysia to work as prostitutes or are being ordered by their families to work in brothels in these countries because the money is good. Girls from the Dai minority are particularly sought after in Thailand because they are regarded as beautiful and their language is similar to Thai. [Source: New York Times]

One 20-year-old woman in the Mekong River village of Langle told the New York Times, “If you can’t go to Thailand and you are a young woman here, what can you do? You plant and you harvest. But in Thailand and Malaysia I heard it was pretty easy to earn money so I went....All the girls would like to go, but some have to take care of their parents.”

The girls work in bars and most of the money they take in tricks goes to their pimp or brothel owner. The money they earn comes from “tips” by customers. Many make their way across the border hidden in the baggage compartment of buses and hope to get lucky and meet and marry an overseas Chinese or at least bring enough money back for a better life for themselves and their families.

Many are unable to save much even after a couple of years. Some do quite well and this is often reflected by the nice homes---with satellite television, air conditioning, generators and tile designs---owned by their parents. Some families with several daughters live in chateau-like homes with chandeliers, leather-covered sofas, golden Buddhist altars and fancy home entertainment centers. Dai boys often don’t like the set up because the girls who return from Malaysia and Thailand come back snobby and don’t want to have anything to do with them.

Homosexuality in Malaysia

Homosexuality is taboo in Malaysia. Homosexual acts are illegal. Sodomy, even between consenting adults, is illegal in predominantly Muslim Malaysia and punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment. although few people are prosecuted.

According to Human Rights Watch: The government refuses to consider repeal of article 377B of the penal code, which criminalizes consensual “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” or to replace article 377C on non-consensual sexual acts with a modern, gender-neutral law on rape. In July the high court refused to permit Aleesha Farhnan Abdul Aziz, a transgender individual, to change her registered name and gender from male to female. In April Malaysian authorities sent 66 allegedly effeminate schoolboys to camp “to guide them back to the right path.” On November 3 police banned Seksualiti Merdeka, a festival held annually since 2008 to celebrate the rights of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, as a threat to public order. [Source: Human Rights Watch, World Report 2012: Malaysia]

The government-backed National Fatwa Council is one of Malaysia's highest Islamic bodies. When it issues a fatwa (edict) it is up to the individual states to implement the ruling. In 2008, The fatwa council banned women from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex, saying it was forbidden by Islam.

See Anwar Trial under article on ANWAR IBRAHIM.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated June 2015

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