Malaysia

Cabinet member, Najib’s aides are ‘non-heterosexual’, says leaked US cable

August 10, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — A recent Cabinet member and some of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s senior aides would have found themselves under investigation for homosexual “behaviour” if the government were on a morals campaign, according to a leaked United States diplomatic cable.

The cable to Washington from the US embassy here cited the “non-heterosexual behaviour” of an unnamed Cabinet member and Najib aides in its primer for State Department officials to understand the alleged political act of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II prosecution.

“Anwar’s prosecution is not part of a morals campaign.  The GOM does not aggressively target non-heterosexual behaviour; if it did so, a recent cabinet minister, senior staff associated with PM Najib and other prominent citizens linked to the government also would find themselves under investigation,” US Ambassador James R Keith said in the diplomatic note to Washington that was leaked by whistleblower site Wikileaks through the Malaysia Today website.

The cable did not name the Cabinet minister or Najib’s aides.

But Ambassador Keith pointed out that the facts of the case against Anwar made it clear that the prosecution was foremost a political act against the Opposition Leader.

“The Malaysian government does not aggressively prosecute cases of sodomy; we find record of some 55 cases since 1991, or an average of 3 per year.  The vast majority of such cases involve adults assaulting minors,” Keith wrote.

Keith also reiterated a long held view of the US government that Anwar’s original Sodomy prosecution 1999 had been grossly manipulated by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also pointed out that “keeping in mind Najib (picture) and Anwar remain bitter enemies, it is striking that Najib met personally with the complainant Saiful prior to the police report.”

The US ambassador also noted the involvement of senior politicians in the case as well as the leakage of information.

“From the very early stages, the senior-most officials in the government, including then PM Abdullah, current PM Najib, cabinet ministers, the AGO and national police chief (the latter two having played important roles in Anwar’s 1998-1999 flawed trials) and officials of the ruling Umno party have been intimately involved in decisions regarding the case, according to Embassy contacts and publicly available sources.

“Senior government leaders provided law enforcement information on the case to leaders of Anwar’s coalition partner, the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), in an unsuccessful attempt to split PAS from the opposition.  A recent internet report claims that the government has provided some government-directed press editors with a ‘sneak preview’ of evidence against Anwar.”

The cable appears to have been written in 2009 just before Anwar’s trial started.

Anwar is currently facing sodomy charges for the second time in his life. He was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet, and was later convicted and jailed for both offences.

He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

He later led the loose pact of PKR, the DAP and PAS to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.