Malaysia

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Malaysian government regarding (a) the imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, (b) Malaysia's sodomy laws and (c) sedition laws.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The hon. Member will be aware of my statement of 10 February, the day the judgement was announced. In this I expressed deep concern at the Malaysian Federal Court’s decision to uphold Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction for sodomy. I had previously raised concerns about the case on 4 December when I met the Malaysian High Commissioner. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon Friend for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), also raised this issue when he met Malaysia’s Foreign Minister on 9 December.

Our High Commission in Malaysia has discussed the matter with Malaysian ministers and officials on several occasions, and officials from the High Commission in Kuala Lumpur observed the trial alongside other local diplomatic missions.

Wider representations on Malaysia’s sodomy laws have been confined to Anwar Ibrahim’s case as charges have been extremely rare.

We have lobbied for the repeal of the Sedition Act over many years. We are aware of the recent comments by Prime Minister Najib concerning plans to strengthen the Act rather than repeal it. We await more information about the scope of the proposed amendments. Until we know what these entail, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

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