Anwar in two minds over Seksualiti Merdeka

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim says his party does not support the festival but he defends the community’s right to freedom of expression.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is in two minds about the Seksualiti Merdeka festival. He said his party PKR did not support the event but at the same time he defended the community’s right to expression.

He said that PKR does not support the controversial festival which was called off over the weekend.

He also condemned the manner in which the whole issue was dealt with and came to the defence of Bersih 2.0 chairman and former Bar Council president S Ambiga.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby today, Anwar said that the core of the issue was not “to support or not to support the event”.

“The issue is the manner in which they were attacked. They said it was a free-sex event… this is not right,” said the Permatang Pauh MP.

Anwar said that if there were Muslims who did not agree with the views put forth by Seksualiti Merdeka, they should engage with the event organisers instead.

“Where are the Muslim scholars? Why have they been silent?” he asked, adding that engagement was the proper way to deal with the issue.

Speaking later at a press conference, he again stressed that PKR did not support the event neither would it had participated, but defended the community’s right to expression.

Although the festival which celebrates the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community has been conducted since 2008, this year’s events has drawn much flak.

Right-wing group Perkasa and Islamic party PAS were two of the most vocal detractors.They alleged that Seksualiti Merdeka promotes unnatural sexual lifestyle. Even Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin weighed in and called the event “immoral”.

Ambiga’s association with the event has been a major point of contention with some of these detractors. Anwar today questioned why Ambiga was being defamed.

‘Why are they going after her?’

“Why are they going after her? It shows the vulnerability of a normal citizen against the entire might of a corrupt government. I went through that, now it is Ambiga.

Why do they treat her like a common criminal harassing her in this manner, when she has explained her position?” he asked.

Ambiga had said in a statement last Friday that she was not one of the organisers, but she was invited to officiate at the event in her personal capacity.