ISKANDAR PUTERI, Nov 29 — The Johor government is in the process of creating a centre to “rehabilitate” those who practise same-sex relationships for going against established Islamic teachings.
Johor Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said the rehabilitation centre will be the first of its kind to be established in Malaysia.
“Currently, the establishment of the centre is in the process of preparing assets in the office, as well as its male and female trainee dormitories.
“The centre is expected to be fully operational by July next year,” he said in the Johor Legislative Assembly here today.
He was replying to a question from Maharani assemblyman Abdul Aziz Talib from Perikatan Nasional.
However, no further details are currently available from a prepared text from Mohd Fared’s response that was made available to the media.
Conversion therapy, which consists of psychological treatment or spiritual counselling to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual, is widely seen by the medical and scientific community as potentially harmful and a form of pseudoscience.
The practice is opposed and has been legally challenged, or even banned, in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Israel, Lebanon, Malta, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Additionally, Mohd Fared said the Johor Islamic Religious Council allocates RM15 million a year to Pertubuhan Kebajikan Saudara Kita organisation for it to carry out various missionary activities, including those for Muslim converts.
He said a total of 2,845 people who previously were from other faiths, have been registered as Muslims since 2020.
He gave the yearly breakdown as 728 people in 2020, followed by 688 in 2021, 796 in 2022 and 633 from January this year so far.
He said in Johor, the new converts were of diverse races and nationalities and broke them down as ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indian, Iban, Bidayuh, Kadazan, Orang Asli as well as foreigners from the Philippines and Vietnam.
Mohd Fared, who is also the Semerah assemblyman, said that the Pertubuhan Kebajikan Saudara Kita was established by the Johor Islamic Religious Department in 2020.
He said the organisation also played a role in implementing the Islamic Studies Module related to faith, worship, muamalat, sirah, morals and Quran recital.
“In addition, it also functions to provide religious guidance to new converts in an effort to improve the teachings of Islam and to also care for their welfare.
“Among the courses conducted are Islam Pilihanku, Sinar Ibadah camp, Ramadan Iftar ceremony, Leisure Pilgrimage programme and Maulidur Rasul celebration," said Mohd Fared.