Anwar under fire for suggesting review of gay laws

Published: January 16, 2012

Days after being acquitted of a sodomy charge, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim continued to come under fire from his detractors, this time for appearing to support gay rights.

Pro-government newspapers slammed Mr Anwar on Sunday for suggesting that Malaysia’s strict laws on sodomy and oral sex be reviewed, saying this could lead to apostasy. But this in turn drew criticism from opposition politicians, who accused the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition of trying to discredit Mr Anwar. The Pakatan Rakyat leader’s acquittal allows him to take part in the next general election, expected to be held soon.

The latest exchange came after an interview with BBC in Mumbai, in which Mr Anwar said Malaysia needed to review ‘some archaic laws’ which were ‘punitive and not relevant’. ‘We do not promote homosexuality in a public domain. I don’t think we need to make apologies for that. But using these laws to be punitive, punishing innocents, cannot be condoned or tolerated.’

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