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‘Laws against gays can protect marriages’

 | July 18, 2012

However, the opposition leader says that archaic laws must be reviewed to prevent the innocent from being penalised.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has lent his support for discriminating against homosexuals in order to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriages.

However, the PKR leader, whose sexual preferrence had been the subject of much debate, allegations and denials, said that archaic laws must be reviewed to prevent the innocent from being penalised.

Anwar said this in response to questioning by Utusan Malaysia’s counsel Firoz Hussein during the hearing of the former’s suit against the Umno-owned daily.

Firoz: Should the laws discriminate against homosexuals?

Anwar: Yes.

Meanwhile, High Court judge VT Singham reminded Firoz not to badger Anwar with questions.

“The court does not want to interfere in your cross-examination but be fair. You keep asking on interpretations. Lawyers are here to assist the court,” he said.

Singham also reprimanded Firoz for not questioning with regard to defending Utusan.

“I don’t know the direction that you are taking. What are you trying to achieve? I am not a recording machine,” said the judge.

He said this when Firoz questioned Anwar’s interpretation regarding an Utusan report interview with former PAS man, Hasan Ali.

No questions on reputation

Singham also ruled that questions relating to Anwar’s reputation will not be allowed.

“I am not allowing it [any question] to be raised about [his] reputation because it is not mentioned in the justification… This case is related to defamation, [not reputation],” he said.

Earlier this morning, Firos cited Anwar’s sodomy case under Section 377 of the Penal Code (for carnal intercourse against order of nature) as the reason for Anwar having no reputation to defend.

Anwar had filed a RM50 million suit against Utusan and its group editor-in-chief Abdul Aziz Ishak in January following its front-page report that was published on Jan 15.

The Utusan report referred to a BBC interview with Anwar and alleged that he had said that the laws on homosexuality in Malaysia were considered “archaic” and “not relevant”.

In the said interview, the BBC reporter had reportedly asked Anwar whether he was prepared to push for the idea of anti-discrimination as far as gay rights were concerned, to which he had allegedly said: “We will have to review some of our archaic laws.”

“We Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia generally believe and are committed to support the sanctity of marriage between men and women, but we should not be seen to be punitive and consider the archaic law as relevant,” Anwar had told BBC.

Hasan’s comments were published in two articles in Utusan Malaysia entitled: “Tolak Anwar – Hasan” (Reject Anwar – Hasan) and “Parasit ancam Pas, Anwar mesti ditolak” (Parasites threatening PAS, Anwar must be rejected).

In the articles, Hasan had reportedly referred to the interview when slamming Anwar for allegedly calling for homosexuality to be made legal in the country.

Anwar was represented by N Surendran, Latheefa Koya and Murnie Hidayah Anuar. Utusan was also represented by Hafarizam Harun and Wan Azmir Wan Majid.

Umno owned

Meanwhile, Firos’ application to expunge three points in Anwar’s statement was also postponed.

All three points are related to Umno’s alleged ownership of Utusan Malaysia.

Earlier, Anwar testified that Utusan takes orders from Umno and Umno appoints its representative into Umno board of director.

In response to another question, Anwar said: “I don’t have the evidence now but I will bring it during the next hearing.

“The name of the director is not specifically stated in the Companies Commission but he is powerful.”

The hearing continues on Aug 13.


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