News in brief

Cambodian leader calls rival ‘crazy and stupid’ over FB case

PHNOM PENH, February 13 (Reuters): Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called a rival “crazy and stupid” on Tuesday over his petition to try to get Facebook to release details of the way the Southeast Asian country’s ruler has used social media. Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s legal team filed the lawsuit in California last week, saying that Hun Sen was using the platform to commit human rights abuses and deceive the electorate. Among other allegations was that Hun Sen was paying for false Facebook “likes” to mislead voters about his support. “This person is crazy and stupid,” Hun Sen told thousands of university graduates in the capital Phnom Penh, saying Rainsy was just jealous because his official Facebook page had 9.4 million “likes” to only 4.5 million for Sam Rainsy’s. Hun Sen said he had no idea who had liked his own page. The case has drawn attention to the central role of Facebook in political discussion in Cambodia, where the government has shut the main opposition party, arrested its leader and cracked down on media and civil rights groups over the past year. A 29-year-old man was ordered to pre-trial detention on Monday over comments posted on Facebook, which included calling the government “authoritarian.” He was arrested last week on his wedding day.


Malaysian daily’s ‘gay person’ list sparks outrage

Kuala Lumpur, February 13 (IANS): A Malaysian newspaper has sparked widespread outrage by publishing a list on how to spot gay people, a media report said on Tuesday. The list featured in an article on how LGBT people can be invited to seek religious counsel on the Malay-language Sinar Harian daily on February 9, the BBC report said. As part of the story, there was a checklist on how to spot a gay person. Aside from sporting beards, gay men like to go to the gym to check out other men or to wear branded clothes, the list said. Lesbians, according to the list, like to belittle men and walk around holding hands and hugging each other. “I was absolutely baffled by this article,” activist Arwind Kumar told the BBC. “And obviously I was disappointed with how misleading the content was. It was pure nonsense.” Homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia under both secular and religious laws. The article first sparked criticism on social media and was then picked up by Kumar for a Youtube video. In the widely shared clip he goes though the list of alleged claims, dismantling them and showing how illogical they are. While activists like Kumar have no trouble speaking out, he said that many others are “filled with so much of fear in them”. “Transgenders have been murdered in this country,” he told the BBC. Last year, the Health Ministry launched a contest for the young on how to “prevent” homosexuality. In March 2017, the release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was postponed in Malaysia, because it contained “a gay moment”.