“Malaysia: Truly Asia” is a historically relevant slogan

Letter to editor

A NEW logo and slogan are expected to be unveiled early next year in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2025.

However, “Malaysia: Truly Asia” may remain the best slogan since it was launched in 1999. It was rehashed for use in VMY 2014 as “Celebrating 1Malaysia … Truly Asia” and for the ill-fated VMY 2020 as “Visit Truly Asia Malaysia”.

According to Tourism Malaysia, the slogan portrays the essence of the country’s unique diversity and sums up the distinctiveness and allure of Malaysia that make it an exceptional tourist destination where all the colours, flavours, sounds and sights of Asia come together.

Nevertheless, “Malaysia: Truly Asia” is not just a great slogan but also a historical fact. More than five centuries ago, people from all over Asia with access to the sea travelled by sailing boats to a tropical paradise in Malaysia to trade or resettle.

Historical Melaka (Pic credit: Bernama)

Initially, they comprised mostly traders and emigrants from the Southeast Asian archipelago and later from China, Indian sub-continent and the Arab world. For the first century, it was largely peaceful and harmonious among the Asian communities until the Europeans came.

The Portuguese were the first to arrive in 1509. They liked what they saw and came back two years later to conquer the port for themselves and ruled it for 130 years until they were driven out by the Dutch who occupied it for 183 years before exchanging it with the British in 1824.

Melaka was the largest port in Southeast Asia and in its heyday, 84 languages were spoken there by its ethnically diverse merchant population. In other words, Melaka had attracted people from all over the world – with many staying as long as they could – for over half a millennium.

“Melaka Truly Asia” had long been a fait accompli. And if we continue to embrace people of diverse ethnicities, visitors from all four corners of the earth would feel welcomed in Malaysia.

But if politicians keep drumming up identity politics, many foreign tourists will shy away. – March 21, 2023


YS Chan is master trainer for Mesra Malaysia and the Travel & Tours Enhancement Course as well as an ASEAN Tourism Master Trainer. He is also a transport and training consultant and writer.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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