As at 3 July, this letter was signed by the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), the PT Foundation and 141 other individuals.

This letter inside was written by Alina Rastam, writer and activist and Shanon Shah bin Mohd. Sidik, writer, performer and activist. I received it in the mail last night.

Both have written this letter because they felt that Malaysia “really need a non-institutional, non-partisan response from concerned citizens to the issue at hand”

What they saw here was “gay-baiting being used to discredit a politician. In effect, this reinforces the
legal, institutional and social mechanisms that encourage human rights violations against sexual minorities in Malaysia”.

So, Alina and Shanon have developed a response to one of the big issues at hand, which is not about supporting, promoting or critiquing Anwar Ibrahim the politician/individual.

Please put your name to this letter if you agree with it, and spread it wide and urgently to all who are concerned about this matter.

Please return all signatures to Shanon by today, Tuesday, 1st July 2008, 3pm, so that he can send the letter off to the press ASAP. Please return all signatures to shanonshah@gmail.com. Thank you.

*************************************************

We, the undersigned, are deeply disturbed that Anwar Ibrahim has been accused of ‘sodomy’, yet again, in what looks like another attempt to destroy his political career. We are not promoting or supporting Anwar as a leader or an individual in any way, but we are addressing the issues that have been raised by this latest allegation against him.

We believe simply that Anwar’s human rights are being violated once again. In effect, we are seeing a virtual repeat of the incidents of 1998, when sodomy allegations against Anwar became a tool to urge the Malaysian public to refuse his potential leadership. The underlying assumption here now, as it was then, is that due to Anwar’s alleged sexual practices, he is not fit to become a national leader.

We, the undersigned, do not care what Anwar’s, or any other politician’s, sexuality is. As far as we are concerned, an individual’s sexual practices and orientation is a personal matter. Furthermore, the privacy of every individual must be respected. For public leaders, sexual conduct should only become an issue when it can be proved to have led to the abuses of power such as the misappropriation of public funds or resources.

What is more disturbing is that Sections 377a and 377b of the Penal Code have been used by the State to silence political dissent, upon interpretation of the phrase ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’. In effect, these laws, and the State’s repeated use of them, demonize an entire sector of society – lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs), and even non-conformist heterosexuals. They create an environment that not only allows for, but encourages, discrimination and violence against LGBTs.

But LGBTs are part of our society, whether we like it or not. They are tax payers, they are productive workers, they are students, and some of them are pious people who contribute positively towards their mosques, churches and temples. And yes, some enter politics in the hope of exercising political leadership. Yet in all of these areas, they are discriminated against and are seen to be deviants by the State. This is in direct contravention to international instruments and conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that no one should be discriminated against on any grounds.

However, not all Malaysians share the State’s view. In August 2003, a group of concerned citizens and NGOs – from a variety of backgrounds – submitted a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), calling for an end to discrimination and violence against LGBTs. We, the undersigned, wish to resurrect the spirit of that memorandum, and we hereby reiterate its call to:

·Demand that the State respects the human rights of all citizens, including LGBTs, as  enshrined in our Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
· Demand that the State repeals all laws that criminalize sexual behavior among mutually consenting adults
· Abolish policies and regulations which prohibit the media from portraying LGBTs and their issues in a fair and balanced manner, and to urge the media to be fair and non-discriminatory in handling of sexuality issues.

We believe that this is an issue that should be of concern not just to the LGBT community, but to anyone who supports justice and democracy. Any violation of an individual’s or a group’s human rights should be of concern to us all. It is also important to note that apart from the Penal Code, there are a whole host of laws regulating sexual practices and behaviours in Malaysia, such as the Syariah enactments in various states which in many cases proscribe whipping for various sexual acts between consenting adults, some of which, like sodomy, can be practiced by heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. Thus this is not just a matter affecting LGBTs, but all Malaysians.

17 responses »

  1. shankar says:

    What AFP says:

    US cautions over sex charges against M’sia’s Anwar
    WASHINGTON – THE United States said on Monday it would oppose any politically motivated investigation or prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim facing fresh sex misconduct charges.

    Datuk Seri Anwar is being investigated over new allegations of sodomy, Malaysian police said on Saturday, the same charge that saw him jailed six years until 2004, when the charge was overturned.

    The former deputy premier accused the government of concocting the new sex claims by a 23-year-old male aide and had briefly sought sanctuary at the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying he had received threats and feared for his life.

    ‘The main point for us is that the rule of law needs to stand above politics,’ said Mr Tom Casey, spokesman for the US State Department.

    ‘And we would certainly oppose any use of law enforcement or judicial procedures for anything other than legitimate purposes of the law,’ he said.

    Noting that Mr Anwar had previously faced similar charges and that his conviction was ultimately overturned, Mr Casey said, ‘So, we would hope that there’s not a pattern here.

    ‘But, certainly, we would be concerned that anything that is done be done in a way that is appropriate, that is a legitimate investigation of charges that might exist under Malaysian law, and would not be anything that was a politically motivated investigation or prosecution,’ he said.

    The new charges erupted after Mr Anwar stormed back into Malaysian politics in March general elections that handed the opposition a third of parliamentary seats and five states.

    Since then, Mr Anwar has said he is poised to form a new government with the help of defectors from the ruling coalition, undermining Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has faced repeated demands to step down over the polls debacle.

    The charismatic opposition leader said the new charges would be ‘a repeat of the 1998 fiasco’ when he was hit with the sodomy and corruption counts that were widely seen as politically motivated.

    Mr Anwar said he was targeted again because he had evidence that the police and attorney-general had fabricated evidence in the original sex trial.

    Premier Abdullah denied any involvement in the new charges.

    ‘We had no plans to do anything to him just because he says he’s made a political comeback,’ he said.

    Malaysian Criminal Investigation Department chief Bakri Zinin said Mr Anwar’s aide had personally written the report against his boss detailing an incident at a condominium in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb. — AFP

  2. Kesava says:

    The BN Govt that is in disarray is using the `sodomy` allegations to stir up the muslims.

  3. borneo headhunters says:

    that saiful gay guy is so sial!!disgracing the youth group..mengada-ada want to become student leader konon..go here and there and do nothing..stupidity,kaki ampu,amik gambar with menteri this and that as if he is so f*&king great!

    i hate these golongan that academically so poor and yet mengada-ada, pura-pura aktif berpersatuan..my ass!!these are leeches that needed to be destroyed, buried alive, or buang negeri!!

    if he’s around borneo, i will chop his head off..worst still, behead him!! F&^k u, saiful the gay guy!!u r rubbish, hopeless, your potential is ZERO!!

  4. billauchris says:

    If after the preliminary investigation by the Police, there exists a prima facie case, will Annuar be tried in the Syariah or the Criminal Court?

    If under the Syariah Court, then it will be extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove that Annuar is guilty of the alleged charge since three eye witnesses are required. I have the hunch that the case will be tried once again in a Kangaroo Court like before.

    So why are we wasting the time and money of the public? By getting someone to make a police report against another human being for a virtual crime is definitely a violation of human rights.

    I hope the authority will stop all these nonsense and become more civil in handling human problems in the country.

  5. kuyc says:

    Its all nonsence and like the Malays say ” oren tak caya lagi” The rakyat are educated and cannot tolerate this nonsence anymore. Feel like throwing out now.

  6. fucai says:

    aiyoh! Anwar lar ,apa annuar ni! annuar musa ada kes kah???
    simply hantam only

  7. hasilox says:

    Sodomy using C4 is the next blockbuster in bolehcinema.

  8. This is UMNO that needs to open up their memberships to half breeds and Mamak Indians , Thais and Arabs to make up their ‘self claim’ of the 60% Malays in Malaysia.
    At this rate UMNO will one day have only members of Indians , Thais , Arabs and non pure Malays who are willing to wear sorongs, songkoks and above all pray to Allah and no genuine Malays who may have better brains.
    It is already happening please think of another name and stop using the word ‘Malay’ in UMNO, they make the rule to accept these as members.

  9. ghenjis khan says:

    Just answer this ONE Question:

    Where were you[the Accused] on the whole date of 26th June, 2008?

    Why whole date? The person [Accuser] was very clever as NOT to mentioned the period of the day of 26th June, 2008.

    Was it done just after 12.01 am till 6.00 am of the 26th June, 2008?

    Was it done after 6.01am to 12.00pm or 12.01pm to 6.00pm or 6.01pm till 12.00pm?

    So, those people who are responsible for “COACHING” the wordings of the Police Report , you all can now think very hard about this.

    Also, come to think of it, it is only naturally, for a person to report by saying, “last night , I was sodomized ….” , “or in the , morning or afternoon or evening or nite of Thursday ” ………….

    but then again, it is already after 24 hours and long after the incident. At first news was at Jalan Travers later it was at GHKL Police Post.

    It rather Unnatural to remember the DAY [Thursday] and quickly remember the DATE [26th June, 2008] .

    Therefore, there is definitely, a “COACHING ” or pre-planning.

    BTW, the Police Report mentioned, “kali terakhir” , semanticaly meaning, there were “BEFORE” ……

    Once again, there is “COACHING” , one would have reported that one has been repeatedly being sodomized but of course, can’t remember the periods of day, days or dates.

    It reminds me of Case 1998 and Altantuya ….. our Police and AG must watch more CSI, Criminal Minds, Bones, etc etc etc or perhaps, the Documentaries of FBI cases on Astro …… learn something.

    Regards from Ironside .

  10. […] Susan Loone – Don’t let homophobia undermine human rights! […]

  11. sava says:

    This new criminal allegation is to prevent Anwar to participate in a by-election in Kuala Kangsar as BN is sure that Rafidah Aziz will lose the Petition.
    The verdict is due this Friday.

  12. ah long says:

    Must be “give me scholarship to become MAS pilot and I let you masok belakang” but he was so bodoh cannot get accepted so make police report lor.

  13. […] post here. If you agree, put your name to this, spread it wide. And if you’re reading this just in time […]

  14. comedytime says:

    DPM faceoff
    C4 vs. Hacker

    Anwar on Najib’s wife,
    Umno’s vault
    and Dr M’s plan
    http://www.jeffooi.com/2006/07/anwar_on_najiband_umnos_vault.php

  15. Anonymous says:

    All they want to do is simply to try to criminalise Anwar and thwart his political momentum so that he’s ineligible to run for the by-election and forfeit his chance of becoming PM.

    kotok betui umno! Cuci seribu kali pun tak boleh bersih balik!

  16. Dear Susan,

    the term Homophobia is a myth. Why? Because homosexuality is a disease and can be cured.

    Check out http://www.narth.com and you will see testimonies and scientific papers on how homosxuality can be cured

    Homosexuality is not something you are born with. It is habitual and therefore can be cured.

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