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Abolish Anti-sodomy Laws and Criminalise Marital Rape

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) echoes 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. We should follow India which recently abolished colonial-era anti-sodomy laws.
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.
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 calls for marital rape to be made a crime. Currently, Malaysian rape law excludes rape that happens within a marriage — another remnant of British colonial law. In fact, Singapore is looking to criminalise marital rape, as part of a comprehensive review of its Penal Code.
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. Such laws disregard the fact that sex without consent is rape, regardless of whether the parties are married or not.
JAG urges the government to review laws on sexual offences and to ensure that these laws promote justice — not moral policing.

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