Malaysia must not ‘bow down’ to pressure on LGBTI rights, says PM-in-waiting

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Anwar Ibrahim (Photo: Wikipedia)

A leading Malaysian politician slated to become the country’s next Prime Minister said on Wednesday (15 May) the country should not bow down to international pressure over LGBT issues.

Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia must be ‘fiercely independent [and] decide what is best for our country’ amid a crackdown on its LGBTI population.

The leader of Malaysia’s ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan was sent to jail under Malaysia’s colonial-era sodomy laws in 1999.

He was responding to actor George Clooney’s remarks about Malaysia and Indonesia after he led a boycott of Brunei over its law punishing gay sex with death by stoning.

Clooney said the other two Muslim-majority countries were also considering ’these laws’.

‘It sends a warning shot over to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia – who are also considering these laws – that the business people, the big banks, those guys are going to say “don’t even get into that business”.’

Although Malaysia criminalizes gay sex with between five and 20 years in prison under its Penal Code, it is not planning to implement nationwide Sharia Law.

Malaysian LGBTI activist Numan Afifi said Clooney’s comments ‘might be counterproductive’.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is becoming increasingly hostile to its LGBTI population.

In September, the prime minister said the country could not accept LGBTI rights. The tourism minister there are no homosexuals in the country.

Bow down

‘We have to realize that we have our own system and leadership that is free to protect the interest of the country and its people’ Anwar Ibrahim said Wednesday.

‘They can give suggestions, but we should not bow down to pressure’.

‘We must always stand up for the country and not feel pressured by external reactions,’ he said.

Malaysia’s deputy foreign minister also responded to Clooney’s comments. He said Malaysia opposed LGBT as it went against Islam but said it did not kill sexual minorities.

The small Southeast Asian nation of Brunei announced last month it would institute stoning to death as a penalty for gay sex under new sharia laws.

The country’s all-powerful Sultan later said it would not be enforced after global condemnation and boycott of his businesses.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is becoming increasingly hostile to its LGBTI population.

In September, the prime minister said the country could not accept LGBTI rights. The tourism minister there are no homosexuals in the country.

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