The government has banned the portrayal of gay, lesbian and transsexual characters in all state-owned television and radio stations.
The directive was issued by the Information Department, which has been posted on its Facebook page.
"With immediate effect, the department will stop the airing of programmes containing effeminate men and ‘pondans’ (gays), and characters which are against the norms of our religious society on its radio and television stations..."
"These characters appear to support the rise of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexuals (LGBT)," it said in a statement.
However, the department late this morning posted a clarification in the same Facebook posting thread denying the directive and blaming it on a communications blunder.
“The issue of banning programmes containing (LGBT characters) that we posted last night was a topic of discussion on Bernama Radio24 that we reproduced from their Facebook .
“It was not a directive from any authority. We apologise if any confusion has been caused due to our Facebook posting last night,” read the posting from its Facebook administrator.
The original posting on Bernama Radio24 's Facebook posting yesterday at 4.38pm was identical with the Information Department’s, except for a missing second paragraph that read, “Is such a restriction relevant or does such an action deny the fact or the reality of everyday life?”
Meanwhile Deputy Information Communications and Culture Minister Maglin Dennis D'Cruz deepened the confusion when he confirmed the Information Department ban in a report in The Star this afternoon.
Maglin was reported telling the English daily that the ban was effective immediately but at present only limited to state-owned media.
The deputy minister reportedly told the daily that the ban would eventually cover privately-owned stations as well as satellite TV providers, and that foreign TV programmes and movies with gay characters will be subject to censorship.
Motion to ban LGBT from becoming MPs
Two days ago, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the rise of LGBT cases in Malaysia can be curbed through effective counselling.
“Sexual orientation problems also threaten the family institution,” he stressed, adding that the trend, which was previously prevalent in Western countries, is against religious and moral values.
Meanwhile, Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Mohamad Hashim will table a motion in Parliament next week to bar LGBT individuals from becoming MPs and senators.
“A person who is qualified to become an MP is also qualified to become the prime minister, and we don’t want a PM who will go around the world with a same-sex partner.
“It will reflect badly on the country,” the former PKR man said.
The move is the latest in a series of actions against the community since the authorities clamped down on a Seksualiti Merdeka on Nov 3, event despite the organisers having held it for several years without any problem in the past.
Seksualiti Merdeka is an annual festival celebrating the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, organised by a loose coalition of NGOs, artistes, activists and individuals since 2008.