Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has twice battled sodomy charges himself, has denied having supported homosexuality in a BBC interview that created quite a stir in the conservative country.
Ibrahim told a court here that the law should discriminate against homosexuality though he believed that archaic laws needed to be reviewed.
He told the High Court that he made the statement when interviewed by BBC in January, but did not say this in a clear manner, a report in the Star newspaper said today.
"Some of the archaic laws need to be reviewed as we do not promote homosexuality. We Muslims should support the sanctity of marriage and we should not punish innocent people," he said during a cross-examination in his civil suit against a Malay language paper over an article allegedly implying that he wanted to legalise homosexuality.
Anwar has twice been slapped with sodomy allegations but has described them s politically motivated and false.
During the interview, Anwar had stated that "... We should not be seen as punitive and consider archaic laws as relevant. We need to review them. We do not promote homosexuality in public sphere and domain".
Anwar said 'vice activities' such as homosexual activity, free sex and gambling were clearly prohibited in the Quran and Hadith, Star said.
He said whether the activities were carried out in public domain or private place, the laws did not make any distinction.
He said in the interview, he had touched on the Government's responsibilities as a law enforcer, from the perspective of Islam, in enforcing laws against offences or vice activities committed by individuals in public domain.
In his lawsuit filed in January, Anwar named Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief, and is claiming 50 million ringgit in damages.
He is also seeking an injunction to restrain the defendants from further publishing similar words in the print media or Internet.
Anwar said the defendants had falsely and maliciously printed words defamatory of him on the front page of Utusan Malaysia.
He said the words implied that he was unfit to hold public office and presented him as a Muslim leader who holds views inconsistent with the teachings of Islam or has deviant views.
First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 14:20