Protests in Kuala Lumpur After Police Raid of a LGBTQ+ Halloween Party

Protests in Kuala Lumpur After Police Raid of a LGBTQ+ Halloween Party
© @tnahssin and @NumanAfifi via Twitter, Star Observer and Erasing 76 Crimes

Jessica Cook 

Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

Protests took place this week after a police raid of an LGBTQ+ halloween party earlier this month in Kuala Lumpur [1]. Human rights organizations such as the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus have denounced the raid, which was carried out by the Royal Malaysia Police and which lead to the arrest of 24 people on grounds such as: ‘persons who are under investigation for male person posing as a woman’ and ‘persons who are under investigation for indecent acts in a public place’ [2]. The raid also lead to investigations, including humiliating police interrogations in which individuals were asked which hormones they took and what surgeries they had undergone. 

Local human rights organizations have signaled discriminatory, humiliating and violent police tactics which have violated numerous human rights, including the right to human dignity and freedom of assembly. Muslims were specifically targeted during the raid for disobeying the Syariah Criminal Offences Act, a 1997 Malaysian law which lays out punishments for ‘indecency’ including dressing as a woman [3] (there is a dual justice system in place in Malaysia which combines secular and Sharia laws). 

LGBTQ+ people in Malaysia suffer from state-backed discrimination and violence - domestic laws prohibit homosexuality, with penalties going up to 20 years imprisonment. A 2022 Human Rights Watch report pointed out that conversion practices and ‘rehabilitation’ retreats are still widespread, endangering the physical and mental health of LGBTQ+ individuals [4]. 

Sources and further reading:

[1] Steward, Colin (2022, November 9) Dozens of Asian LGBTQ activists protest Malaysian police raid, Erasing 76 Crimes. Retrieved on November 13 from: 

[2] The Vibes (2022, November 1) REXKL Halloween raid warrants review of discriminatory laws – Justice for Sisters, The Vibes. Retrieved on November 13 from: 

[3] Malaysian Government (1997, April 1) Syariah Criminal Offences Act, Malaysian Government. Retrieved on November 13 from: 

[4] Human Rights Watch (2022, August 10) Malaysia: State-Backed Discrimination Harms LGBT People, Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on November 13 from: