Gay people should
not govern mostly Muslim Malaysia, former prime
minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a court filing,
challenging a lawsuit by his former deputy who was
sacked amid allegations of sodomy. "I strongly believe
we cannot have a prime minister who is homosexual,"
Mahathir said in the 48-page statement seen Saturday by the
Associated Press in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
"Malaysia is officially an Islamic country."
Mahathir fired his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, in
1998, alleging he was involved in corruption and had
engaged in sodomy, an illegal act in Malaysia, after
Anwar publicly denounced Mahathir's economic policies
during the Asian financial crisis. Anwar was sentenced to 15
years in prison on charges of corruption and sodomy
that year. A successful appeal in Malaysia's top court
against the sodomy conviction set him free in 2004.
According to the statement, Mahathir said he
knew his former deputy was gay because Anwar's
speechwriter, Munawar Ahmad Anees, admitted in court
that he had engaged in sodomy with Anwar. Munawar served six
months in prison for the crime.
The outspoken former premier said he "had no
doubt that [Anwar] had been proven to be a
homosexual," according to his court statement, which
was filed Friday at the high court in Kuala Lumpur. Anwar,
now a key opposition figure, sued Mahathir for $28.5
million in 2005 after the former leader reiterated the
sodomy allegations at a human rights conference.
Anwar and his lawyer, Sankaran Nair, could not
immediately be reached for comment Saturday. Mahathir
retired in 2003 after 22 years in power. (S. Kanaraju,