Halloween parties in Malaysia aren’t anything new nor have they ever been banned unless something dangerous and illegal happened like violence, drugs, or even public disturbances. However, just recently, a private Halloween event at RexKL over the weekend was raided by authorities. The party had to be cut short and all attendees had no choice but to cooperate.
Most if not all attendees were actually members of the LGBTQ+ community, some of which were arrested and detained. Netizens, especially those within the community were shocked by the news and shared their thoughts on social media. We also have those who attended the event explaining exactly what happened. Here’s the full story:
On Sunday evening (October 30th), the private Halloween party was raided by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) despite the event being legal and permitted according to event organisers. It was reported that around 20 drag queens and transgender individuals were detained by the authorities.
The surprise raid angered netizens as well as celebrities. Those who attended the event spoke out about what happened. Malaysian-born singer Kitnaga attended RexKL and recalled that the crowd was separated into 2 groups; Muslims and non-Muslims. The singer said everyone was tested for drugs and described the experience to be extremely humiliating and stressful.
Malaysian Gay-Rights activist, Numan Afifi was apparently one of the 20 people who were questioned by JAWI, revealing that they were being investigated for “encouraging vice” under section 35 of Shariah offenses act. Fortunately, he also revealed that they managed to get 20 volunteers to bail most of the detainees out that very night and praised the lawyers who stepped in to negotiate with the authorities.
Shahrezzan Ezani, influencer, and Head of Branding and Marketing of Alia Bastamam, expressed his frustration through an IG post after he was allowed to leave with some netizens DM-ed him about what happened to certain people who were detained. According to the DM screenshots, some had to be taken back to certain states to face investigation and conditioning.
After many posted their experience during the raid, other Malaysian celebrities showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community. Singer Ning Baizura posted a video of her singing “Pelangi Untukmu” dedicated to the queer community. Model and actress Alicia Amin posted on IG stories expressing her gratitude towards the community for always supporting her career.
Celebrities and public figures such as Vannesa Reynauld, Daiyan Trisha, JinnyboyTV, Sarah Lian, and many more showed their support against the injustice by replying in the comments sections or posting their thoughts on their respective social media account.
RexKL, of course, posted about the event saying that they were saddened by the unfortunate turn of events that night. The venue will continue to become a safe space to celebrate Malaysian communities and stand against prejudice.