KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Malaysia’s minority lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is not propagating its “culture” or “lifestyle” to other citizens as alleged, but only want to be treated equally and fairly before the law, Lawyers for Liberty said today.
Zaid Malek, the civil society group’s coordinator, was responding to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent statements that the public, and the majority Muslims in particular, are being forced to accept “LGBT culture or lifestyle”.
“It is unfortunate that he is using the LGBT community as pawns to a political agenda; it reeks of the fear-mongering tactic often used by the government of old,” Zaid said in a statement.
He rubbished allegations that the public are being forced to accept the LGBT community’s lifestyle, as claimed by Anwar and asked the latter to explain “when did they do so?”
“All that is asked for by the LGBT is for the authorities and the intolerant to stop persecuting and vilifying them,” he said.
Zaid added whether PKR president-elect Anwar accepts LGBT or not, the reality is that the community exists in the country, has rights like other Malaysians and does not deserve to be treated as pawns by politicians to further their personal agenda.
“In fact, Anwar of all people, should have been able to empathise with this marginalised and hunted community,” he added.
Anwar is currently running as the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate in the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election, slated for October 13, in a bid to return to Parliament and legitimise his position as the coalition’s next prime minister.
The 71-year-old Penangite was freed from prison earlier this year after being convicted of sodomising a former male aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 33, who is also running as an independent in the Port Dickson poll.
Anwar has twice been convicted of sodomy but maintained his innocence both times, saying the charges were politically orchestrated to kill his career. He received a royal pardon on May 16, days after PH won the 14th general election.