Penang strips Hari Raya-themed cow over uproar

The cow figure at left, and a man removing the cow’s samping, at right. Photos: Aliff Hilmi/Facebook
The cow figure at left, and a man removing the cow’s samping, at right. Photos: Aliff Hilmi/Facebook

A cow figurine that got all dressed up for the Hari Raya festivities was stripped of its traditional Malay outfit yesterday after offending some Muslims. 

Some had taken offense at the figure, located at the Hill Railway roundabout in Penang’s Air Itam town, for representing Muslims as cows. Before it was undressed, the figure was decorated with the black songkok traditional cap, a green samping sarong, and holding up a replica of the ketupat diamond-shaped rice cake. The same figure was used as decoration to usher in the Year of The Ox during Chinese New Year in February.

“Regarding a controversial incident pertaining to a decoration at the Jalan Air Itam roundabout, we would like to apologize for making our Muslim friends angry,” Ayer Itam MP Joseph Ng Soon Siang wrote in yesterday’s apology.

“We decorate the place for every celebration accordingly, but this time, our error has offended our Muslim friends, and I take full responsibility for it,” he added. 

Someone filed a police complaint against the decoration on Tuesday night, calling it “indirectly offensive towards Muslims.”

One person who outed the decoration publicly was preacher Muhammad Firdaus, aka “Tok Singa,” who complained about the cow on Facebook.

“What is the meaning of a cow wearing a samping and a songkok? Are Muslims here COWS??? This is offensive towards the Malay Muslims,” Firdaus wrote, urging his 116,000 fans to alert the police about it. 

“Is the Penang government calling us Muslims cows?” Facebook user Mohd Faizal asked.

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