Malaysia Jails Gays But PayPal Still Opened An Office There

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

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PayPal announced Monday that it would no longer be opening an office in North Carolina after Republican Gov. Pat McRory signed into law a bill requiring people to use the biologically correct bathroom, a move PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said “violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.” But PayPal’s values didn’t keep the company from opening and maintaining a global operations center in Malaysia, where homosexual acts are punishable by public lashings and jail sentences up to 20 years.

According to Schulman, PayPal’s decision to kill 400 jobs “reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect.”

The same day that Schulman issued his statement, Malaysian student Hazim Ismail was granted asylum by Canada because he is gay and it would be too dangerous for him to return to his home country. Ismail testified that he faced persecution in the heavily-Muslim Malaysia because he had been publicly outed as a homosexual. So far, Schulman has remained silent on the persecution of homosexuals in Malaysia.

Malaysia isn’t the only country persecuting gays in which PayPal has set up shop.

PayPal’s international headquarters are based in Singapore, where homosexual acts — even those done privately — are punishable by up to two years in jail. And Singapore’s anti-gay laws look like they’re here to stay. In 2014, the country’s highest court upheld laws criminalizing homosexual behavior.


The Huffington Post covered Singapore’s anti-gay laws in a piece last fall titled “How One Of The World’s Richest Countries Is Limiting Basic Human Rights.” Even so, The Daily Caller has not been able to find any instance of PayPal even threatening to remove its operations from Singapore.

The United Arab Emirates is another country whose values, unlike those of North Carolina, are apparently compatible with PayPal’s core principles. In 2012, the company announced plans to open up offices in Dubai.  At the time, PayPal’s general manager for the Middle East Elias Ghanem said, “It will be the hub for the region.”

While North Carolina will require transgenders to use the biologically correct bathroom, Dubai actually jails crossdressers and homosexuals.

Tourists to Dubai aren’t exempt, either. The U.S. State Department warns Americans traveling to the UAE that “Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in the UAE. Penalties may include fines and imprisonment. Under interpretations of sharia, the punishment could include the death penalty.”

Nevertheless, in 2015, PayPal succeeded in partnering with Network International to launch operations in Dubai. TheDC has not found any instance of PayPal threatening to withdraw its business from Dubai out of concern for LGBT rights in the UAE.

PayPal did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment by press time.

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