KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian tourism campaign logo featuring cartoon animals wearing sunglasses which was widely panned online will stay despite the criticisms, the tourism minister said today.
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”, reports AFP.
Malaysian netizens have widely criticised the logo as dated and an eye-sore.
But Tourism Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz has refused to budge.
“I still stick to the same logo, no change,” he told AFP in brief comments.
An online petition has been launched on change.org to demand the tourism ministry to 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 has garnered 9,873 signatures by Wednesday 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 Malaysian netizens were not placated.
“How to create a viral campaign in Malaysia? Launch an ugly logo,” fumed Mohd Hisham Saleh on Twitter: Muhammad Hanafi Muhamad added on Facebook: “It’s a mockery to Malaysians’ graphic design level.” Some designers quickly offered their own alternative versions online.
Malaysia, which boasts of white-sand beaches, colourful diving spots, tropical forests and a variety of cultures, welcomed nearly 26.8 million visitors in 2016.