Published in Malay Mail Online
Last week, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was convicted to five years’ jail under an anti-sodomy law that originated from the UK, where sex between males itself has been decriminalised for decades.
Despite all the push towards Islamic laws and against colonial laws, the section in the Penal Code was perhaps retained only because it provides for some sort of “prevention” against a crime feared since Biblical times.
Alleged political persecution aside, the case against Anwar was motivated also by so-called injustice towards his sexual partner Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Protesters had gathered in Putrajaya during the verdict, carrying placards with words such as “No one should get away with sexual molest at work” [sic].
While we should not easily dismiss a victim of male rape, it is equally important that the issue of consent plays little role to convict someone of performing sodomy (rather than receiving it).