Malaysiakini News

Action must be taken against doc over LGBT remarks – Latheefa to Syed Saddiq

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PKR supreme council member Latheefa Koya (above) has expressed disagreement with Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman regarding a doctor who penned an open letter critical of the LGBT community.

In a Twitter posting this afternoon, she said the issue is not about freedom of speech.

“It's about professional, ethical conduct as a doctor- it affects confidence in the health service,” she added.

Therefore, Latheefa, who is also the Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director, said action must be taken against Dr Nur Ilyani Mohamed Nawawi.

Earlier today, Syed Saddiq defended the doctor's views, which had been posted on Facebook, based on freedom of speech and vowed to oppose any action if taken against her.

"To me, anyone has the right to air their views. If we agree, then we agree. But if we disagree, we can agree to disagree. I don't agree with taking disciplinary action against her (for airing her views).

"She has her right to air her views and that is a personal view. If we take action against her, it would mean that we are restricting her voice and view," he had said. 

Ilyani's open letter on Facebook, which was later deleted, had prompted the Health Ministry to issue a statement stressing it did not discriminate against the LGBT when it came to providing healthcare.

In her Aug 6 post addressed to social activist Marina Mahathir, Ilyani wrote that she does not endorse “free sex”, much less a “deviant lifestyle”.

However, the doctor said she had treated LGBT patients well.

She also said LGBTs were not allowed to donate blood because of their high-risk behaviour and asked if this was the “equal rights” Marina wanted.

Universiti Malaya's dean of medicine and infectious diseases Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman had rebuked Illyani, saying the latter's statements would deter people from seeking medical help.

“We need to separate our personal beliefs and the trust that has been given to us as doctors. We have a duty of care and trust for all,” she added.

Speaking to the media at the sidelines of an event in Kuala Lumpur today, Adeeba said there is no reason to take punitive action against Ilyani.

“What we doctors are concerned about is the judgemental tone she portrayed. For me, her action does not warrant any punitive action,” she was quoted as saying by news reports.

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