|Anwar Ibrahim Malaysia is rapidly turning into the homophobic black spot of the Asia/Pacific region, after repeated allegations of gay sex against Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian Opposition leader.
Anwar used to be Minister of Finance under the United Malaysian National Organisation, the authoritarian and social conservative nationalist party that has led Malaysia since its independence, until he grew alienated from the nepotism and corruption under UMNO that seems to be the fate of long-term ruling regimes the world over. Threatened by the popularity of his renegade deputy, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed then used his state media stooges and corrupt judiciary to jail Anwar after a rigged sodomy trial in 1998. He served six years before the Malaysian Federal Court quashed the conviction in 2004.
In 2006, the Malaysian Opposition made substantial advances across the peninsula, partlyas a consequence of the machinations and corruption evident in the case against Anwar. Moreover, there is the question of Malaysia's colonial era 'sodomy' and 'gross indecency' laws. Given UMNO's repeated abuse of this outmoded legislation against political opponents, which has attracted the condemnation of Amnesty International (who previously adopted Anwar as one of its Prisoners of Conscience), it may be high time to pressure Malaysia to decriminalise homosexuality and abandon its abuse and exploitation. Craig Young - 21st July 2008