KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 (Bernama) -- Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim denied he had supported homosexuality in a BBC interview on Jan 12, at a High Court defamation hearing here today.
He made the denial in his witness statement, during the hearing of his suit against Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd and its chief editor Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak for publishing two articles about his comment to BBC during an interview on homosexual laws.
Anwar was then asked to explain what he meant by his statement, "We should not be seen as punitive and consider the archaic laws as relevant. We need to review them. We do not promote homosexuality in the public sphere and domain," during the interview.
He responded that it meant vices such as homosexuality, free sex, alcohol, gambling and others were clearly prohibited in the Quran and Hadith, from the Islamic perspective.
He added that it did not matter whether the vices were committed in public or private, the punishment remained the same.
"What I touched upon in my interview with BBC was the government's jurisdiction as the law enforcer, according to the Islamic perspective in enforcing the law against offences or personal vices committed by individuals in public places," he said.
On Jan 20, Anwar filed a defamation suit seeking RM50 million in aggravated and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court. He claimed that the defendants had published two articles in the Utusan Malaysia daily dated Jan 17 in relation to his BBC interview.
He further stated that the defamatory articles portrayed him as a Muslim leader whose views were not in line with Islamic teachings.
During cross-examination by Datuk Firoz Hussein Jamaluddin, who represented the defendants, Anwar disagreed with the lawyer's suggestion that his statement to BBC meant that laws related to homosexuality should be revised so that they would no longer be punitive.
To another suggestion, that his statement meant the state should not prosecute homosexual activities in private places, Anwar replied, "No, it is not true."
The hearing, before Judge Datuk V.T. Singham, resumes on Aug 13.