Jamil Khir says misquoted over constitutionality of gays

By Lisa J Ariffin, The Malaysian Insider

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today denied calling it unconstitutional for a person to be homosexual in Malaysia, and said he was misquoted.

“Not the Constitution, I said Sections 377(a), (b), (c) and (d), it’s not the Constitution; I think it was misquoted,” said Jamil, who is in charge of Islamic affairs and head of the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), in clarifying that he was referring to the Penal Code.

Yesterday, Utusan Malaysia reported Jamil as saying it was unconstitutional for a person to be homosexual in Malaysia, without backing up his claims with any provision.

There are no provisions in the Federal Constitution that directly mention the sexual preference of individuals.

“Section 377 prohibits sexual relations between two men,” he explained to reporters today following the opening ceremony of the World Universities First Zakat Conference 2011 here.

“That’s why it can be brought to court,” Khir said.

Jamil’s remarks yesterday were in response to a question about the banned “Seksualiti Merdeka” event, during an interview with Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.

In it, the minister said Malaysians had a responsibility to unite and stop any promotion of homosexual, lesbian or bisexual practices.

Jamil said his understanding of the event was that its organisers wanted “freedom” of sexual orientation for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transexuals (LGBT).

“This is a deviation from society’s norms. We should help them go back to the right path, not acknowledge their practices,” he added.