Ad featuring wombat in songkok retracted after Muslims mistake it for a pig

The billboard by Australia-based company Servcorp which featured a wombat.
The billboard by Australia-based company Servcorp which featured a wombat.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — An electronic billboard in Bukit Bintang has purportedly been retracted after it upset some Muslims who mistook the wombat featured in a songkok and baju Melayu as a pig.

News portal Mynewshub said the billboard by Australia-based company Servcorp, a serviced office and virtual office provider, that featured a Selamat Hari Raya greeting by the company’s mascot, Sydney the Wombat, could “confuse” Muslims even though the animal featured was not a pig.

“Mynewshub understands that DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) has ordered the company to retract the billboard as it was put up without approval,” Mynewshub reported today.

Malay Mail Online was unable to reach Servcorp Malaysia as it is the weekend, outside the company’s business hours from Monday to Friday.

Some Facebook users also slammed Servcorp Malaysia on its Facebook page, with one called Ajoy Yusof saying: “do you know that pig is haram (forbidden) to Malay/Muslim....please change it or we will report your company to authority and sue your company for making fun of the Muslim and Malays”.

A Facebook user called Farah Annesa, however, said in reply: “Dear All, please note that the animal depicted in the advert is an Australian Wombat. It has been an official mascot for Servcorp for years. Kindly do your research first. Selamat berpuasa everybody”.

The consumption of pork is forbidden in Islam and the pig is considered offensive to many Malay-Muslims in Malaysia, with former sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee even being charged with sedition in 2013 for posting on Facebook a mock “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” (breaking of fast) greeting on Facebook featuring “bak kut teh”, a soupy pork dish.

The Friends of BN — Barisan Nasional Facebook page said today that the Servcorp billboard was “disrespectful” to Muslims and posted that the advertisement has been retracted.

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