Malaysian envoy's wife denies dissing Rizal

by Jojo Malig, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 01 2011 11:53 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2011 07:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The wife of the Malaysian ambassador to the Manila has found herself in the middle of a controversy after she was accused of calling Jose Rizal an "infidel" on social networking website Twitter.

Dato Zainab [@datozainab], wife of envoy to the Philippines Dr. Ibrahim Saad, was tagged in a tweet posted by a fake account @BikMama2U, who claims to be the "Husband of the Prime Minister of Malaysia."

The offensive tweet states, "@BikMama2U: @datozainab Biasala tu, @anwaribrahim mmg pro-Kristian, pemuja Jose Rizal si Melayu kafir tu! Oh ya, jgn lupa."

A rough translation of the tweet sent by @BikMama2U to @datozainab means "That's usual. Anwar Ibrahim is clearly pro-Christian, an admirer of Jose Rizal the infidel Malay! Oh yes, don't forget..."

Zainab replied with "Inshaallah," or "God willing," which Muslims sometimes use as a way to shrug off a question. 

The tweet was picked up by a columnist for a local newspaper, who mistook it as posted by Zainab herself.

Former President Joseph Estrada, a friend of the Malaysian opposition leader who was mentioned in @BikMama2U's tweet, also apparently misunderstood the cause of the row.

"It appears that in her desire to insult Anwar, (Zainab) also effectively insulted our national hero Jose Rizal and the Filipino people who regard him with reverence," Estrada said in a press statement Monday.

The Malaysian envoy's wife has returned to the social networking website to defend herself.

"Those who know me will know I will never use those [derogatory] words," she said.

" I have never talked bad about your hero, Rizal," Zainab added.

While the Malaysian embassy has yet to comment on the row, her husband Saad [@dribrahimsaad] defended his wife.

"Luckily we have the original tweet in the computer. It was someone who opposes our view sending some tweet to us," he said.

Saad has also been defending Rizal on Twitter.