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Former
PM says gays should not rule mostly Muslim Malaysia

Former
PM says gays should not rule mostly Muslim Malaysia

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, AP)

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