Malaysia PM says 'a Rizalian', read most of hero's works


Posted at Mar 03 2023 10:04 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2023 04:30 PM

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MANILA — During his visit to the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he is a student of Jose Rizal, saying he has read most of the Filipino national hero's works.

Ibrahim said one of Rizal's novels that he read was Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), which was translated into Bahasa. The novel, which talks about the abuses of Spanish officials and Catholic priests towards Filipinos, was published during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN's Karen Davila, Anwar described Rizal as a "freedom fighter" whom he admires for his "philosophical construct about the strength of the indigenous values; the rejection of this colonial mindset of condescending towards the colonized; and touching on the fundamental values, justice and compassion and tolerance, which is so critical."

The Malaysian state leader said he "is a Rizalian" in the sense that he also strives to have an indigenous resolve to free a colonized society and move forward.

A firebrand activist during his youth, Anwar has expressed his admiration for Rizal, whom he described as "a true Asian renaissance man".

Ibrahim arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday for a 2-day official visit. 

He is the first foreign head of state to visit the Philippines under the Marcos Jr administration.