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Najib appoints Alibaba boss as digital economy adviser

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Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has appointed Alibaba founder and executive chairperson Jack Ma as digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government.

"Jack Ma has accepted the invitation to become an adviser to the Malaysian government on digital economy.

"He will advise and assist us in exploring, developing and charting our future direction in this sector," Najib is quoted as saying by Berita Harian today.

The prime minister, who is in China, added that Ma also agreed to participate in the Malaysia Global Transformation Forum set to take place in March next year.

Norashman Najib, the prime minister's son, also had an opportunity to meet Ma.

"Could not contain my elation and exhilaration when meeting the visionary Jack Ma," Norashman, who shared a photograph of the meeting, said on Instagram.

Alibaba is the world's largest business-to-business e-commerce platform.

Najib made the announcement after officiating the Alitrip's Malaysia Tourism Pavillion at Tourism at China World Hotel.

Alitrip is a travel booking app set up by Alibaba.

Alitrip was recently embroiled in controversy after its Chinese name was renamed "Flying Pig". However, its English name used the word "Fliggy".

According to BBC, this had upset Muslims in China, including Uighur businessman Adil Memettur, who criticised the new name on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

"But now that Alitrip has changed its name to Flying Pig, I can only uninstall it, and maybe all my Muslim friends too, because the word 'pig' is taboo to Muslims all over the world.

Alibaba is an international corporation, could it take Muslim taboos into consideration?" Adil is quoted as saying.

However, Adil later retracted the comment and apologised after being met with heavy criticism by social media users in China.

An Alibaba spokesperson told BBC that the rebranding to "Flying Pig" was to attract a younger demography.

"We embrace diversity and respect all creeds and religions. The name change is meant to reflect the demographic's aspirations to pursue dreams, sit back and enjoy life," the spokesperson is quoted as saying.

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