LGBTs not your political punching bag, lawyers group tells Anwar

PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today criticised Anwar Ibrahim’s recent statements on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, challenging his claim that people were being forced to accept the “LGBT culture or lifestyle”.

It accused Anwar of using the LGBT community as “pawns in a political agenda” and urged him to stop using them as a “political punching bag”.

“The core of the demands of the LGBT community is equality and justice for all, the same demands that were made when Anwar himself was targeted and persecuted by his political opponents.

“In fact, Anwar of all people should have been able to empathise with this marginalised and hunted community,” LFL coordinator Zaid Malek said in a statement.

Last Sunday, Anwar said he was against any attempt to recognise same-sex marriage in the country.

“What they do, we don’t know. That’s between them and the Creator. But to force us to accept same-sex marriage, the answer is no,” he said.

He added that it was inappropriate for groups championing the LGBT community to force other people to support their ideas.

LFL said the PKR president-elect was simply fostering further hatred towards LGBTs who were already a vulnerable community.

It also disputed Anwar’s claim that the public was being forced to accept the LGBT lifestyle.

“All that is asked for by the LGBT is for the authorities and the intolerant to stop persecuting and vilifying them.

“In actual fact, the Malay-Muslim majority holds all the cards in this country. It is ironic then for Anwar to insinuate that the Malay identity or Islam is in any way compromised or threatened by simply having people of different beliefs and identity lead their lives without harassment,” Zaid said.

“Whether he wants to accept them or not, the LGBT community exists in Malaysia, and as fellow Malaysians it is their birthright to live here, free from persecution.”