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Malaysia defends tourism logo despite online criticism

KUALA LUMPUR • A Malaysian tourism campaign logo featuring cartoon animals wearing sunglasses, which has been widely panned online, will stay despite the criticism, the Tourism Minister said yesterday.

The “Visit Malaysia 2020” logo features drawings of Malaysian animals – including an orangutan wrapping an arm around the shoulders of a proboscis monkey – set against garish, multi-coloured fonts with the slogan “Travel. Enjoy. Respect”.

Malaysian netizens have widely criticised the logo as dated and an eyesore. But Tourism Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz has refused to budge.

“I still stick to the same logo, no change,” he said in brief comments.

An online petition has been launched on change.org to demand that the Tourism Ministry stop using the design.

“The design is appalling. It looks cheap and does not represent the country, the people and its history,” said the petition, which had garnered 9,873 signatures by yesterday afternoon.

“The public were not consulted. This petition is to STOP Tourism Malaysia from using the design. It makes a mockery of Malaysia and her rich history. It is alienating the rakyat (people). It has to go,” it said.

In interviews with local media, the Tourism Minister explained why the animals wore shades.

“It is to show that Malaysia is a sunny country with beautiful beaches and that we are into conservation of the environment,” he told the New Straits Times.

But many netizens were not placated. “How to create a viral campaign in Malaysia? Launch an ugly logo,” fumed Mr Mohd Hisham Saleh on Twitter.

Some designers quickly offered their own alternative versions online.

Malaysia, which boasts white-sand beaches, colourful diving spots, tropical forests and a variety of cultures, welcomed nearly 26.8 million visitors in 2016.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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