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PUBLISHED: Jul 6, 2015 4:06pm

Servcorp Malaysia apologizes for ‘confusing’ wombat advert


Akmal Hakim

Servcorp today apologised for the confusion that arose from its wombat Raya advertisement, saying that the advertisement is not intended to reflect or affront any race or religious beliefs.

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 6, 2015:

Servcorp Malaysia today, apologizes to Malaysians for the confusion that arose with the company’s official mascot, a wombat, which some mistook for a pig.

The Australian based company today issued a formal statement on its official Facebook page, apologizing for the advertisement that may have seemed disrespectful to Muslims during the Ramadan month.

“Servcorp would like to extend its sincerest apologies for any confusion caused due to the use of a wombat in a recent digital advertisement in Kuala Lumpur.

“Servcorp is an Australian company and uses the wombat as its company mascot — the wombat itself is a small furry bear like animal that belongs to the koala bear family and is native to Australia.

“It would seem that some people mistook the wombat for a pig and during the holy month of Ramadan this might lead to some sensitivities,” according to the statement the company posted on Facebook.

The company stated that the advertisement was not intended to reflect or affront any race or religious beliefs, and added that the mascot is used and accepted in other Islamic countries in which the company operates in.

“As an international business it is not Servcorp’s intention to offend any race nor religion and indeed, there have been no prior issues globally with the use of our mascot inclusive of Servcorp’s many Middle Eastern and Saudi Arabian offices,” based on the the company’s statement.

Servcorp explained that the advertisement which was displayed on electronic billboards around the capital city had in fact been approved beforehand by the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL).

However, despite the prior approval and the fact that the advertisements did not portray a pig, the company has decided to remove the advertisements on display.

Yesterday, photographs of the advertisement, screened on more than 20 digital billboards in Bukit Bintang, purportedly showed the animal wearing traditional Malay clothing and wishing people “Selamat Hari Raya”.

Images and videos of the misidentified wombat made rounds on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as a number of blogs prompting Malaysians to presume that the advertisement was seditious in nature.



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