JAG: Time to change colonial-era laws, allow consensual sodomy, stop marital rape


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should emulate India's footsteps to abolish colonial-era anti-sodomy laws, said the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

Describing it as "archaic", JAG echoed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for Malaysia to abolish anti-sodomy laws.

"Laws that criminalise consensual oral and anal sex are remnants of our British colonial past.

"It’s time we abolish these archaic laws, in keeping with the times," JAG said in a statement Friday (Sept 21).

It said sexual acts between consenting adults should not be criminalised as this violates freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

"Moreover, such laws perpetuate discrimination against LGBT persons," it added.

Under Section 377B of the Penal Code, anyone who has consensual oral or anal sex can be imprisoned for up to 20 years and also whipped.

JAG also called for another "remnant of British colonial law", marital rape, to be criminialised.

"The exclusion of marital rape is based on the colonial-era idea that married women are their husband’s property and thus do not have the right to decline sex," it said.

"Such laws disregard the fact that sex without consent is rape, regardless of whether the parties are married or not," it added.

JAG urged the government to review laws on sexual offences and to ensure that these laws promote justice and not moral policing.

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