Jamil Khir: I was "misquoted" on being homosexual is unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22, 2011): Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today claimed he was misquoted as saying that being homosexual is unconstitutional.

He said he was referring to the Penal Code during the interview conducted which was published in the print media on Sunday and Monday.

“I didn’t say it is against the (federal) constitution. I said it is against Sections 377(a), (b), (c) and (d) (of the Penal Code). I think I was misquoted.

“I was talking about Section 377 which prohibits a person from sodomising another person and the likes. These are offences which can be tried in court,” he said, after launching the World Universities 1st Zakat Conference at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

The minister in charge of Islamic affairs was reported saying homosexuality was unconstitutional, citing Sections 337 of the Penal Code which relate to carnal intercourse going against the order of nature.

He said this in response to new developments in which Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz had agreed with Jamil Khir, saying being a homosexual is indeed unconstitutional.

The issue comes about after the Seksualiti Merdeka 2011 event was banned in September, in the interest of public order.

Seksualiti Merdeka is a movement championing the freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity, and had been held annually since 2008.

On another matter, Jamil Khir called on more Muslim countries to contribute towards the setting up of a World Zakat Organisation (WZO) which has been initiated by Malaysia some time back.

“About 18 countries have expressed interest to become members, but these are non-donor countries. We need more donor countries so that this initiative would become a reality.

“To set up the WZO we need contributions such as for example from existing world Islamic banks,” he said, adding the WZO is meant to improve the economy of the Muslim community, especially in ill-fated countries, through sustainable projects.

On the three-day conference, Jamil Khir said academicians and researchers attending it are expected to exchange experiences and empirical data to find effective solutions to issues related to the collection and distribution of zakat (tithe).

The WU1ZC is organised by the Wakaf, Zakat and Haj Department in the Prime Minister’s Department and Zakat Study Institute of Universiti Teknologi Mara.

It involves 16 institutions of higher learning from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Algeria, Iran, Bangladesh and Belgium.