Anwar: Anti-Sodomy Laws Completely Unjust

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Anwar Ibrahim has spoken out against laws penalising gay sex, saying they are a remnant of the British colonial era.

“This is not only archaic, it is British colonial laws, introduced in India and replicated in Malaysia. It is completely unjust because one can be accused, and without any proper evidence, in my case clearly,” the PKR leader told Al Jazeera in an interview to be released through the news channel’s UpFront programme tomorrow.

He said the laws must be amended to ensure fairness, adding that one’s sexual orientation should not be questioned if it’s not displayed in public.

“The laws must be amended to ensure there’s justice in the process and it is not a matter of sexual orientation. It’s what you perform or you display publicly which is against the norms of the majority of Malaysians, not only Muslims – Christians, Hindus, Buddhists alike in this country,” said Anwar, who had been imprisoned twice after being convicted of sodomy charges which he said were politically motivated.

On May 16, following a royal order in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s general election victory, Anwar was released from jail, more than three years after he was convicted of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia, and is enforced using Section 377 of the Penal Code which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. A person convicted of the crime can be sentenced to whipping and jailed up to 20 years.

In the interview with Al Jazeera, Anwar was also asked about the recent caning of two women who were convicted by a Terengganu shariah court of attempting to engage in lesbian sex.

“I thought this was clearly unjust. Although they use shariah as a basis, we cannot defend such actions,” he said.

He said the Islamic capital punishments or hudud being proposed by PAS were based on the party’s interpretation and should be rejected.

“These are not even shariah hudud, this is their interpretation or some aspects of it,” he said. – FMT