The Malaysian government is facing ridicule after it took out a full-page advert to celebrate the Lunar New Year - featuring a barking rooster.


The Year of the Rooster - based on the Chinese zodiac - has just ended, giving way to the Year of the Dog.


The trade ministry’s advert wished people a prosperous Year of the Dog - but showed a rooster emitting a dog’s bark in Chinese.

国家贸易部的这则广告祝愿人们一个繁荣的狗年 - 但是却展示了一只公鸡用中文发出狗的吠叫声。

The ministry apologised for the "technical error".


The cultural quagmire is complicated by a view held by some Malaysian Muslims that dogs are unclean animals.


Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Malaysian businesses were ignoring or playing down canine symbols - to avoid offending the Muslim majority. Ethnic Chinese make up about a quarter of the country’s population.

本周早些时候,路透社报道称,马来西亚企业忽视或淡化犬的符号 - 以避免冒犯大多数穆斯林。华人约占全国人口的四分之一。

That led many to think that the advert printed in Chinese language newspapers was a misguided attempt to avoid a picture of a dog - whether it made sense or not.


On Facebook, one user said the advert was "mere stupidity", while another called it a "national embarrassment".


English-language newspaper The Star quoted the chair of the Malaysian Chinese Association’s religious harmony bureau as saying some were trying to "to make the Chinese angry" over simple mistakes.


"After the apology, the error was forgotten and there was no major upset among the Chinese community as the Chinese are a pragmatic lot and easygoing," Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker told the newspaper.


He accused the opposition DAP party of stirring up "hate, resentment and anger".