Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Al Jazeera English’s UpFront programme that the anti-sodomy laws need to be amended since it can be open to abuse, as someone can be accused without any proper evidence. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has slammed Malaysia’s anti-sodomy laws as an archaic remnant of British colonisers, as Singapore debates to repeal its own similar provision.
The incoming PKR president told Al Jazeera English’s UpFront programme that the law needs to be amended since it can be open to abuse, as someone can be accused without any proper evidence.
“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 just accused, and without any proper evidence or, in my case clearly,” Anwar told host Mehdi Hassan.
Section 377A of Malaysia’s Penal Code person criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, which included oral and anal sex, regardless of sexual orientation.
The offence is punishable with imprisonment up to 20 years, and also whipping.
“The laws must be amended to ensure there’s justice in the process and is not a matter of sexual orientation,” Anwar added added.
“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”.
Anwar has been sent to prison twice over sodomy charges, which he insisted had been political persecution.
In the interview, Anwar had also slammed the Terengganu Syariah Court for sentencing two women to public caning over attempted lesbian sex.
“I thought this was clearly unjust. Although they use Shariah as a basis, we cannot defend such action,” he said.
The programme will air in full tomorrow morning, and excerpts of the interview was made available to Malay Mail.
The debate on scrapping Section 377A in Malaysia and Singapore was reignited after India’s Supreme Court struck down a colonial-era ban on gay sex earlier this month.
The proposal to scrap the section has since received staunch opposition from both Muslims and Christians in Singapore.
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