Malaysia's Women's Affairs Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil speaks during an interview at her office in Kuala Lumpur Monday, April 16, 2001. Jalil said the camp violates the Child Act, which protects children against prejudice. (ANDY WONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Over the next four days, they will undergo counseling to correct their effeminate behavior, through both religious and physical education.

An education official has said the camp is meant to guide the boys back “to a proper path in life,” so that they do not end up gay or transsexual.

Educators declined to say the specific “feminine mannerisms” displayed by the boys, who are between the ages of 13 and 17.

But they did say that parents are to blame for dressing them up boys in girls’ clothing at a young age.

Terengganu state's education director, Razali Daud, said the students were invited to join the camp and were not compelled to do so.

“As educators, we have to do something about it before the young ones misunderstand people and reach the point of no return,” Daud said.

Daud also said authorities are trying to limit the number of homosexuals and transvestites that exist in Malaysia.

Not every Malaysia official is on board with the camp, however.

Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the camp violates the Child Act, which protects children against prejudice, and that singling out children because they appear to be effeminate will be traumatizing and harmful to their mental health.

Gay rights groups have also criticized the camp, saying it promotes homophobia in a country where gay sex is still illegal and sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison.

Over the years, Terengganu’s officials have also held programs aimed at promoting Muslim morality, such as offering free honeymoons to save the marriages of couples considering divorce.