Last edited: November 06, 2004

Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Says “Homosexual” Anwar Finished

AFP, October 11, 2004

SINGAPORE—Retired Malaysia prime minister Mahathir Mohamad launched a scathing attack on former deputy Anwar Ibrahim on Monday, rubbishing his one-time protege’s chances of a comeback “because he was homosexual.”

Re-stating his assertion that married father-of-six Anwar was released from jail only because of an administrative blunder, Mahathir said rapists and murderers could also now dodge Malaysia’s legal system on technicalities.

“So if you feel like murdering, come to Malaysia,” Mahathir said.

Anwar, who was once Malaysia’s deputy prime minister under Mahathir, was jailed on sodomy and corruption charges in 1998 for allegedly sodomising his official driver, then abusing his power to cover up the act.

Anwar and human rights groups maintained the charges were trumped up to prevent him from challenging Mahathir, whose 22-year reign as Malaysian leader ended when he retired in October last year.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Anwar’s wife, has remained one her husband’s most loyal supporters throughout the ordeal.

She set up the opposition National Justice Party while he was detained and remains a member of parliament.

The couple have six children, all of whom have also defended their father.

Malaysia’s Federal Court overturned Anwar’s sodomy conviction last month, saying the charges could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt and criticising the police and prosecution for their handling of the case.

While maintaining that Anwar had committed sodomy—a crime in mainly Muslim Malaysia—Mahathir said on Monday his former ally’s name was permanently blackened in the eyes of their countrypeople.

“We are a very conservative society in Malaysia. We don’t condone such acts. And he will make a lot of noise. The foreign press, of course, will give him a lot of publicity,” Mahathir said.

“But some qualities are not very well appreciated in Malaysia. And being a homosexual sort of disqualifies him in the eyes of the majority of the people in Malaysia.”

Mahathir said he had no doubt that Anwar will try to make a return to Malaysian politics.

“But it will be a futile effort. He can cause a lot of problems but I think the present government will be able to handle that.”

Mahathir was in Singapore to deliver a university lecture on democracy and leadership in Asia.

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