Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mahathir's homosexual remarks!

During a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) conference in Kuala Lumpur last year, Dr Mahathir said that a homosexual couldn’t be allowed to run the country, when he was asked about the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim.

He stated: “I cannot have a sodomiser in my cabinet. Imagine a gay PM ... nobody will be safe!”

He added that Malaysian society was against sodomy, so he had in fact acted appropriately. Reacting to Mahathir's remarks, Anwar Ibrahim demanded from the former PM an apology and RM100 million damages over the defamatory remarks.

RM100 million? Would Mahathir have acceded, assuming that he has that amount? With that sort of demand, another court case was inevitable, and perhaps intended.

malaysiakini photo
Naturally Mahathir ignored him, so equally naturally, Anwar filed a law suit in January against him for damages and an injunction to prevent Mahathir from calling him a homosexual.

Yesterday in court, Mahathir, represented by his lawyer VK Lingam, said his remarks about Anwar Ibrahim's homosexuality were justified. He averred he had a moral and social duty to say that. He then stated his remarks were based on a string of supportive facts including the convictions of Anwar’s ex-speechwriter Dr Munawar Anees and adopted brother Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja for sodomy offences involving the former deputy premier.

Mahathir pointed out that the convictions of both Munawar and Sukma for sodomy have not been overturned; hence those facts [of their convictions] proved that Anwar was a sodomiser. He explained why he had a moral and social duty to make the homosexual remarks - Anwar still aspired to be the country’s prime minister. He wanted to convey to the public his belief that that it isn't just on for Malaysia to have a gay prime minister.

He said although the Federal Court has squashed Anwar’s sodomy conviction, the country’s highest court had nevertheless found that there was evidence confirming Anwar and Sukma were involved in homosexual activities. Therefore, based on these court cases, he had no proper reason to doubt that Anwar, at the material time, was a homosexual.

In criticising Anwar’s libel suit against him, Mahathir claimed that it's nothing more than a scandalous, frivolous and vexatious [legal terms, not KTemoc's] action, and that Anwar attempts to re-litigate the claim of defamation which had been filed in 1999 but since then struck out by the High Court.

He reminded the court that that struck-out decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. As Anwar’s suit against him was substantially identical to the previous claim, the binding issue of estoppel should deny Anwar from pursuing the present claim.

Whoa, estoppel eh? Big word lah! I think it means Anwar can’t keep suing on the same grounds in which he had lost previously. Maybe that's why they used such words as vexatious and frivilous.

Additionally, Mahathir averred that whatever he said at the Suhakam function were uttered on an occasion of qualified privilege, and was protected from legal actions as it was made in a function organised by Suhakam whose proceedings and functions are privileged as established by Parliament.

At that Suhakam function he had to answer a query posed to him, thus he answered accordingly. Mahathir said the questions which led to the homosexual remarks had required him to correct the media misconception that he had sacked Anwar because he had something against the latter. He was obligated to explain why it was unacceptable to have Anwar in his cabinet, namely the latter's alleged homosexuality activities.

Hmmm, in Malaysia even kissing and hugging in public parks, a time honoured Malayan/Malaysian activity by young lovers, are no longer permitted so one could argue that Mahathir's remarks about the unacceptabilty of a gay PM seem mild by comparison, PROVIDED of course that the court accepts his contention Anwar had engaged in such an activity.

I must confess I am a bit confused by the situation where the Federal Court had squashed Anwar’s sodomy conviction, yet found there was evidence confirming Anwar and Sukma were involved in homosexual activities. To a layperson like KTemoc, it sounds like taking 2 bites of the cherry, one on each side?

The case continues.

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