Malaysia: Boot Camp to “Help” Effeminate Boys

Based on their effeminate tendencies, 66 schoolboys from the state of Terengganu in Malaysia were recently sent to a boot camp aimed at “helping them behave in a proper manner”.

The New Straits Times writes:

The four-day camp in Besut, the first-ever to be held here, started yesterday. It is to help address the problem afflicting secondary schoolboys.

“They were listed by their schools who were instructed last year to identify students who displayed feminine qualities,” said department director Razali Daud.

He said the remedial effort was prompted by the rising number of effeminate schoolboys in the state.

“The severity of the symptoms vary, but the 66 schoolboys were showing behaviours that is not usually displayed by a normal male of their age.”

In a separate article published by The Star, the country's Women, Family and Community Development Minister Sharizat Abdul Jalil says that the boot camp should be abolished:

“It is in clear violation of the Child Act,” she said, adding that under the Act, every child was entitled to protection and assistance in all circumstances, regardless of characteristics like race, language and physical, mental or emotional disabilities.

The blogoshere in Malaysia was divided over this issue. Whimsical Lair writes:

I really think there should be a clear division between morality / legality / politics / religion. Whilst the government in any nation is charged with maintaining order (hence the difficulty in distinguishing between law and politics), do they really have any right to dictate social norms and morality? Freedom of expression (whether verbal or actions) whilst to a certain extent curbed to maintain peace may be a necessary evil, does GT really think that they have a right to intrude on how I choose to walk, eat, think, like, etc?

Some Malaysians are still homophobic. Ugly Malaysiana explains:

well i dont really care if someone becoming gay or not, its not matter, really, that just left me with more chick i guess, but i still concern, but try to imagine if all of the human being becoming gay? what would happen to this world? what would you do to reproduce? tube baby? uuuhhh…yes i am homophobic, you guys not believe in god, thats what you are, gay people are disgusting, period

On Twitter, @motivationMY asked their followers what they think of the camp, here are some of the responses:

@niennessa: that will make them even more outcast than accepting. trust me it will do no good to anyone at all, such a stupid idea.

@weejunt: Singling them out like that is likely to make them more confused and probably rebel against authority

@fabiannarcis: they need friends and people to understand them, not help dude

@sherylhosulynn: I think that it is ridiculous and a form of oppression of self-expression!

After much criticism from various quarters, in his latest press statement, the program director of the boot camp Razali Daud has said:

[…] the programme was aimed at boosting the self-confidence of students who are inactive in co-curricular and sports activities, but it had been misconstrued as a boot camp for effeminate boys.”



    This type of camp is a way to discriminate against LGBTQ children. Also, some children may not even be part of this population.Thyey aare just included due to their behavior. This is a sign of the “witch hunt era” and the dejavu ofsegregation and Nazi’s camp.

  • Katherine Cabai

    Interesting. In the United States, people who have children like this let them run the streets, disown them, or mortgage their homes in order to get them help and get them turned around. It is interesting to see another country having similar situations.

    • Reina Gareth

      Personally I wouldn’t say this is wrong, but I wouldn’t say this is right either. People are always entitled to their own beliefs and opinions about gender preferences, especially if you consider one’s culture. The parents of these boys prefer to send their kids to boot camps and expect them to have a change of heart as soon as they go home. But they should never expect that their kids will indeed be fully changed by the experience because you can never be too sure about it. It’s sad though that parents are the first ones who tend to isolate and ostracize their own kids for their gender preferences instead of being supportive of them. I’m sure it’s not easy for them to accept their identity as well. Maybe parents should first consider their kid’s safety in these types of boot camps. I would hate to think that my kids will get abused as a result of my decision to send them to the wrong place. I would probably think if these boot camps are effective enough to provide change for my kids, like this article I have in mind –

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