- Malaysia's tourism minister has caused anxiety in Germany after claiming there are no gay people in Malaysia
- This was after he was asked about the safety of gay and Jewish tourists in the country
- He later released a statement dismissing the initial response
The minister of tourism in Malaysia, Mohamaddin Ketapi, has dismissed the presence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Southeast Asian country.
He made the claims ahead of the world's biggest tourism fair, the ITB, held in Berlin when he caused consternation by claiming there were no gay people in his country.
According to German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, Ketapi also sidestepped a question concerning the safety of LGBT and Jewish travelers in the country, according to the broadcaster.
"I don't think we have anything like that in our country," he said.
The minister later took to his Twitter handle to dismiss the response, claiming it was referring to the non-existence of specific LGBT-focused tourist campaigns in the country.
Ketapi said that the country adopts an open policy in welcoming foreign tourists.
He claimed Malaysia would never place any unnecessary obstacles for its guests based on their sexual orientation, religion and cultural practices.
The statement added that the country has, as a sovereign nation, its own views on both the LGBT community and Israel, and expected other nations to respect the country's sovereignty.
The selection of Malaysia as a partner country for the ITB had attracted criticism, believed to be over it's decision to not allow Israeli athletes to compete in the 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships.
In 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said his country could not accept same-sex marriage or LGBT rights.
"In Malaysia, there are some things we cannot accept, even though it is seen as human rights in Western countries," he had said. "We cannot accept LGBT, marriage between men and men, women and women."
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