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Malaysian politician threatens to sue newspaper for saying he is pro-gay

Malaysian politician threatens to sue newspaper for saying he is pro-gay

Lawyers for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim contacted the Utusan Malaysia newspaper demanding they retract an article published last Sunday headlined 'Anwar discusses gay rights'.

The Malaysian Insider reports that Anwar's lawyers are offering Utusan Malaysia 48 hours to respond, after which they will take legal action and sue for 50 million Malaysian Ringgit (16 million US dollars) in damages. The lawyers' letter said: 'these allegations are calculated to injure our client’s credit and reputation as a public figure, and bring him into public scandal, odium and contempt'.

The Utusan Malaysia article featured comments Anwar, who was acquitted of sodomy last week, made during a BBC interview. He referred to Malaysia's laws against homosexuality as 'archaic', which prompted fellow Malaysian politicians to speak out against him. Dr Hasan Ali, a former commissioner for the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) said: 'This is why Malaysians should reject Anwar.'

On Anwar's blog yesterday he accused the 'controlled media' of 'lies and slanders' and described one of those lies as that 'Anwar is condoning the practice of homosexuality in this country'. He explains that his comments to the BBC referred to 'outdated laws not based on the syariah [Islamic law] and oppressing the people'.