Malaysia yesterday warned local media to cut back on news related to the alleged affair of Malaysian-born model Sarah Marbeck and England football captain David Beckham, saying the Australian model tarnished the country's moral image.
Stories of Marbeck's claim to have had a two-year affair with Beckham were splashed across most local papers over the week.
"It is very unfortunate that our media has joined the frenzy," Deputy Information Minister Zainudin Maidin told the official Bernama news agency.
"The girl has been exposed for money and has claimed to have slept with Beckham and yet we project it as a good thing.
"Some newspapers even 'shouted' she was Malaysian-born, perceived as something that we are proud of," he said.
He warned the media not to "make her a hero" over her claims.
An Australian newspaper reported that Marbeck had been working for Boardroom Escorts, a social escort agency based in Sydney, in 2001, the year she claimed she had slept with Beckham.
Zainuddin urged the media to be aware of the negative moral implications of Marbeck's allegations, saying that she would be a bad influence on youngsters, Bernama reported.
Marbeck, who was born and went to school in mainly Moslem Malaysia, is the second woman to go public with claims of an affair with the former Manchester United captain.
Former personal assistant to Beckham, Rebecca Loos, was the first to claim that she had had an affair with the soccer idol.
Beckham, 28, and his wife Victoria have issued a statement calling Marbeck's claims "absurd". He had earlier rejected Loos' claims as "ludicrous".
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