KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told the High Court that an allegedly defamatory speech given by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in 2008 centred on vice, betrayal and sodomy.
Anwar, 69, said this was his understanding of Khairy’s speech which was made during an Umno Youth event in Lembah Pantai on Feb 19, 2008.
“From the speech, it is (touching) on vice, betrayal and sodomy,” Anwar said when giving evidence in his RM100mil defamation suit against Khairy, who was then deputy Umno Youth chief.
To a suggestion from Khairy’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that the minister’s speech has no sexual connotation, Anwar disagreed.
Anwar agreed with Shafee that he was familiar with remarks such as “Jangan mainkan saya” and that they did not carry any sexual connotation.
To a suggestion that the phrase “Jangan main-main dengan saya” does not imply to any sexual act, and more of a tease or warning, Anwar smiled and replied: “This is a language test.”
To a suggestion by Shafee that a statement such as “Jangan main di belakang saya” does not mean an act of sodomy but more of an act of betrayal, Anwar said “it was less accurate”.
Asked if a statement “Don’t play behind my back” has no sexual connotation, Anwar agreed.
Asked if he had heard of remarks such as “Don’t play my back”, Anwar said “It is broken English.”
Anwar agreed to the suggestion that a person accused of committing sodomy would be portrayed as one who did not adhere to the teachings of Islam.
In his civil claim filed on March 7, 2008, Anwar had named Khairy, then Umno Youth deputy chief, as the sole defendant.
Among others, Anwar said the defamatory words meant that he was of low moral, has tendency to commit crime and vice and was unfit to hold politicial or other positions.
Questioned by Shafee, Anwar said he did not sue news portal Malaysiakini, which published Khairy’s speech, as the portal had given him space to explain and his intention to initiate the legal action.
To another question that it was reported that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had accused him of trying to topple the former prime minister when he was the deputy, Anwar said:
“He (Dr Mahathir) was only convinced after the people went to deliver such (news) to him. He has no information.”
Anwar added that his political enemies were responsible for delivering such information to Dr Mahathir.
At the outset, High Court judge Justice Azizul Azmi Adnan had rejected an application by Shafee to bring in references to Anwar’s three previous cases, including two sodomy cases, in the civil dispute after receiving objections from defence counsel R.Sivarasa.
In the statement of defence filed on Oct 8, 2010, Khairy said he relied on the defence of justification and qualified privilege.