A Pahang DAP lawmaker has expressed concern over the state's plan to emulate Terengganu in caning offenders convicted of LGBT-related crimes.
Tras assemblyperson Chow Yu Hui, in a statement, doing so would blur the line between politics and religion in the state.
"Pahang is culturally, and geographically close to Terengganu. We, the people of Pahang, are aware that the caning culture in Terengganu will be detrimental (to the state). The conservatives in the state are pushing for the state government to emulate Terengganu.
"If this is allowed to happen, Pahang will become a state where there will be no separation between religion and politics, at any given time," he said.
Chow was responding to the remark by Pahang Islamic Religious Department (JAIP) director Mohamad Noor Abdul Rani that the state may take up after Terengganu by imposing the caning sentence on offenders of LGBT-related crimes.
Mohamad Noor said the proposal was still being discussed and needs more study.
On Monday, the media reported that a lesbian couple, aged 22 and 32, were caned six times each in Terengganu after they were found guilty of attempting same-sex relations in a car on April 8.
'Settle the issue proactively'
Chow, who is also the Pahang DAP secretary of publicity, pointed out that the Terengganu caning had attracted global attention, with the likes of Amnesty International condemning it, and thus, it is pertinent for the Pakatan Harapan federal government to fix the situation and solve the case in a proactive manner, to save face.
Chow acknowledged that the conservative Malaysian society might still find it hard to accept the LGBT community, but that is not enough reason to resort to bullying the latter, he added.
"Every human being has the right to live and to be treated with compassion.
"Everyone has their own opinion and moral judgment of the LGBT community. We should learn to differentiate between moral judgment and the rights of others in living their respective lives, and stop bullying the LBT community," he said.
The Terengganu caning had also violated women's right, added Chow.
"Like some critics have pointed out, the laws of our country forbids women from being caned, but the Syariah High Court proceeded with the sentence.
"This matter is compounded by the clash of civil laws and syariah laws.
"The Harapan government must act immediately to resolve this serious crisis, which may cause a split among Malaysians."