Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told a court here that the law should discriminate against homosexuality but archaic laws needed to be reviewed.
He told the High Court he made the statement when interviewed by the BBC in January but did not say this in a clear manner.
“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 when cross-examined by counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin yesterday in his civil suit against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd over an article allegedly implying that he wanted to legalise homosexuality.
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 explained that vice activities such as homosexual activity, free sex and gambling were clearly prohibited in the Quran and Hadith.
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.
Anwar also disagreed with a question by Firoz Hussein who acted for the defendants that the state should not prosecute homosexual activity committed in a private place.
In his lawsuit filed in January, Anwar named Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak as defendants.
He is claiming RM50mil (S$20.47mil) in damages and 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 in the front page of Utusan Malaysia under the heading Tolak Anwar-Hassan (Reject Anwar-Hassan).
He said the newspaper also carried the defamatory article inside under the heading Parasit ancam PAS, Anwar mesti ditolak (PAS threatened by parasites, Anwar must be rejected) on the same day and that the defendants had made similar allegations in the daily several days prior to the publication.
He said the words implied that he was unfit to hold public office and a Muslim leader who holds views inconsistent with the teachings of Islam or has deviant views.