Malaysia

Seksualiti Merdeka shows PAS kowtowing to ‘Anwarinas’, says Utusan

By Yow Hong Chieh
November 06, 2011

Muslims hold placards as they protest against the Seksualiti Merdeka festival at the Selangor state mosque in Shah Alam November 4, 2011. — file picMuslims hold placards as they protest against the Seksualiti Merdeka festival at the Selangor state mosque in Shah Alam November 4, 2011. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — PAS will continue to stand idly by as Islam is attacked so long as the party stays under the thumb of pro-Anwar leaders and DAP, Mingguan Malaysia said today.

The Umno-owned newspaper said PAS’s silence in the face of Seksualiti Merdeka, a gay rights festival, showed the Islamist party was more worried about protecting its political masters than safeguarding Islam.

“Until now, PAS has not yet stated its official position on the programme that promotes free sex. What we have are just the reactions of certain individual leaders,” its editors said in the Awang Selamat column.

“In two other issues that challenged the interests of Islam, the Jais (Selangor Islamic Religious Authorities) examination of a church and the anti-apostasy rally, PAS too was quiet as it chose to look after DAP’s interests.”

Mingguan Malaysia said PAS has never kowtowed to other parties’ demands but said this would be par for the course if PAS remained controlled by “Anwarinas”, or supporters of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

It singled out PAS leaders Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Mohamad Sabu for inspiring the organisers of Seksualiti Merdeka “to do whatever they want” by showing support for the banned Bersih rally for electoral reform held in July.

“However ... Muslims still place hope on the rational faction within the party. They include Dr Hasan Ali, Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi and Nik Abduh. Mustafa Ali, Harun Din, Harun Taib, Nasharudin Mat Isa and Azizan Razak can also be trusted.

“They, along with other members and supporters, still place the importance of Islam above political trickery and private agendas,” the paper said.

The Malay-language daily also warned that Seksualiti Merdeka would legitimise the practice of unnatural sex, the spread of which has gone unnoticed, if allowed to take place.

It said this would lead to many more gay parades in Malaysia, and thanked those who protested against the festival for making their objections heard.

Mingguan Malaysia added that it was not enough that the police had banned the festival and urged authorities to charge the organisers under existing laws.

It warned that Seksualiti Merdeka would threaten faith, the Constitution, culture and the institution of the family, and remained a threat that needed to be monitored closely by the authorities.

Seksualiti Merdeka, a movement championing freedom for sexual orientation and gender identity, has been holding the festival annually since 2008 but sparked a heated debate after the government banned this year’s celebration.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police were not against freedom of expression or human rights but had to step in because the organisers did not have a permit to hold the festival in public.

He also said the police had banned the event to safeguard public order after receiving several reports against Seksualiti Merdeka.

Khalid added that the police were investigating the matter under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 27A(1)(c) of the Police Act and had linked Bersih 2.0’s Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to the movement.

Seksualiti Merdeka’s organisers called off all public events yesterday in the interest of participants’ safety as they seek a meeting to clarify the festival’s objectives to the Inspector-General of Police.