PETALING JAYA: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi’s remark that there was no homosexuality in the country was simply a misunderstanding, according to his office.
In a statement issued last night (Wednesday), it claimed that Mohamaddin was merely explaining to the foreign press in Berlin, Germany that the country does not offer any tourism campaigns targeted specifically for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
It said Malaysia has always practised an open policy in welcoming foreign tourists in line with national sovereignty.
It added that the country has and never would impose any unnecessary bans on tourists based on their sexual orientation, religion and cultural practise.
“The minister’s answer was to explain that there are no tourism campaigns specific to LGBTQ organised by Malaysia and the country will not hold any such programmes in the future.
“Hence, it is hoped that his statement is not misunderstood to a point it could mean a ban on tourist entry,” the statement read.
It further explained that Malaysia has its own personal stand on various global issues including on LGBTQ, and expects other countries to respects them as it would theirs.
Mohamaddin caused consternation in Germany after he was reported to have said that gays were non-existent in Malaysia, when asked by a foreign broadcaster if the country welcomed the community.
The minister, who is in Germany for the ITB Berlin travel fair, had also sidestepped a question of whether Malaysia was a safe destination for homosexuals.
An aide to Mohamaddin had also earlier responded to the furore claiming the Warisan leader was likely reiterating Putrajaya’s stance that LGBTQ were not recognised in the country.