Current Affairs

Gay libel suit thrown out in Malaysian court

Celine Casey July 6, 2007
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Former Malaysian Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim missed his chance to bring corrupt former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad to court for calling him a homosexual.

An accusation that landed Ibrahim in prison for six years.

Ibrahim’s case was thrown out of the High Court after a judge ruled that the lawsuit was “unsustainable,” due to a similar lawsuit against bin Mohamad in 1999.

The former Finance Minister was first accused of being gay in 1998 by the Prime Minister and then fired from the cabinet for challenging his authority.

He had acted as his deputy for five years.

Ibrahim was tried and was handed a lengthy sentence of 15 years for sodomy and corruption.

He believed the trial was intended to restrict his political rise.

He was later released in September 2004 after the conviction was overturned.

Neither politician made an appearance in court on Wednesday.

Sankara Nair, Ibrahim’s lawyer, said he was “quite upset” due to the judge’s rejection of the lawsuit continuing.

“The only way to know the truth is through a trial,” the lawyer said.

After 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad retired in 2003 and was replaced with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In January 2006 bin Mohamad said it was “unacceptable” to have a homosexual in his Cabinet.

Anwar Ibrahim then filed a second defamation lawsuit.

The former Finance Minister’s stint behind bars for corruption stopped him participating in general elections and kept him out of office until April 2008.

His wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismai is now responsible for the running of his People’s Justice Party.

Disputes over policy during the Asian financial downturn led to the breakdown of Ibrahim and bin Mohamad’s relationship.

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