IPOH • Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim yesterday said he shares Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's view that the country does not accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) culture or same-sex marriages, but reiterated that colonial-era sodomy laws can be abused and need review.
He said certain media organisations were out to create friction between Tun Dr Mahathir and him over the issue, but clarified that they were on the same page about this.
Datuk Seri Anwar said several articles reported him as saying that sodomy laws must be reviewed, but others reported Dr Mahathir as saying he does not agree with LGBT culture. He said Islam, and many other religions, do not sanction same-sex marriages. "The sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman. This is our understanding and that of many other religions.
"What I was saying is that the laws on sodomy are not fair, outdated, and need to be reviewed. These laws were brought by the British to India during the times of colonisation, and Malaya... adopted these laws," he said when presenting his mandate to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members.
The PKR president-elect had told Al Jazeera English's UpFront programme that the law on sodomy needs to be amended since it can be open to abuse, as someone can be accused without any proper evidence, such as in his own case.
Mr Anwar was released from prison in May after a royal pardon for a sodomy conviction that he maintains was politically motivated. Section 377A of Malaysia's Penal Code criminalises "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".
This means that oral and anal sex, even between straight people, and even if the partners mutually consented to the act, can be punished with jail of up to 20 years, and even whipping.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK