Malaysian Government Bans Tourists Coming For Gay Party In Kuala Lumpur

“The… gay party is against our country’s culture and we will be strict in denying their entry.”

Immigration officials in Malaysia are denying entry to tourists planning to attend a gay party in Kuala Lumpur this week.

On Saturday, director-general Mustafar Ali told reporters that anyone coming for the September 30 party will be red-flagged and served a “Not to Land” (NTL) notice.

“Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid had instructed me not to allow them to enter the country,” Ali explained, “and I had also conveyed the information to the 137 entry points managed by us.”

Ali added that, “The… gay party is against our country’s culture and we will be strict in denying their entry,” he added.

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The party was organized to promote White Party Bangkok, the biggest circuit party in Asia, taking place December 28 in nearby Thailand. But officials say organizers did not apply for a permit for the Kuala Lumpur event, and police were instructed to not approve one.

“If such a party or event is held, then it is an illegal gathering,” said Zahid. Visitors planning to attend a beer festival in the city are also being given NTL notices.

“If we had kept quiet on these, it would have given a sign that beer and gay festivals are not only acceptable, but can be celebrated grandly in a country that has a Muslim majority,” Awang Selamat wrote in Utusan Malaysia.

Opposition leader Liow Tiong Lai criticized the decision to unilaterally ban people from visiting Malaysia, but stopped short of saying the event should be allowed to continue.

“We can respect some of the homosexual community’s viewpoints, but their lifestyle is not recognized in Malaysia,” .

Homosexuality is still criminalized in Malaysia, where LGBT rights are practically nonexistent. In February, the government released a video promoting conversion therapy and, later banned a Pride event in Kuala Lumpur after criticism from Muslim groups.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.