“The consensus of the people I have to respect. However, this should not be seen as harassment.” Anwar asserted during the interview.

IN a recent interview with CNN journalist Christine Amanpour, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stated that he did not condone the harassment of the minority group.

She initially asked Anwar how he planned to show the democratic reform as a leader of a modern Muslim nation during his recent trip to the 78th United Nations General Assembly.

She then proceeded to ask Anwar regarding Malaysia’s recognition of the LGBT community.

“As you know, this year you said Malaysia would never recognise LGBT rights,” said the journalist before elaborating on the Swatch Pride watch collection ban (which carries a prison sentence of three years if caught wearing it).

“I would not defend that action. The law, Muslims and non-Muslims alike; Christians, Hindus and Buddhists – this is their consensus,” Anwar responded, adding that the nation does not “accept” the community displaying their lifestyle outwardly.

The Finance Minister added that despite the laws forbidding displays of the LGBT lifestyle, it does not mean that the community deserved to be harassed.

“I do not approve of any attempt to harass (the LGBT community).

“The consensus of the people I have to respect. However, this should not be seen as harassment.” he asserted during the interview.

Christine also questioned the Tambun MP’s sensitivity toward the sodomy label since he was falsely imprisoned for it.

“I am and in fact I made it quite clear we need to review and look at the law; it should not be abused. In the case that I went through, it was used (as) political persecution, but finally we have to respect the general sentiments of Malaysians,” he replied.

When Christine asked if the nation is okay with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Anwar responded, “Not necessarily but we should exercise some tolerance here. The issue against the LGBT is harassment. That I think we have to avoid.”

The interview also covered Anwar’s arduous journey to becoming the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia from being imprisoned for 25 years, his focus of neutrality with ASEAN while upholding a good relationship with the US and China and his take on other topics such as his dedication in fighting corruption.

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