KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's own panda cub finally made its long-awaited debut - three months after its birth - in front of dozens of cameras at the Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
And like a true diva, the female cub, as it laid lazily on its stomach, looked unfazed by all the attention.
The baby of giant pandas Liang Liang and Xing Xing was placed on a table inside an observatory room with a glass window for its unveiling.
At 4.67kg, the chubby cub appeared much bigger and rounded than before, prompting several visitors and even press members to break into cooing. The panda cub weighed 175g at birth.
It was so cute that it could easily have been mistaken for the many panda dolls placed around the table.
The unnamed cub and its mother Liang Liang have been in quarantine since its birth on Aug 18 to promote bonding between them.
During the unveiling, Malaysian Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar also launched the contest to name the baby panda.
"The short-listed names will be sent to me as the minister first. It will then be shown to the Prime Minister.
"After we receive the go-ahead from China with the name, we will send a memo to the Cabinet for its approval," he told reporters at Zoo Negara here yesterday.
He praised the zoo for its unprecedented success in helming the giant panda conservation programme.
"Our zoo is not the biggest or the most famous, but we have accomplished something that we never thought of," he said.
At the cub's birth, the parents had set a world record by being the first pair to naturally reproduce within a short period of time while in captivity.
Xing Xing and Liang Liang arrived in Malaysia in May last year, marking 40 years of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.
The panda cub contest runs until Dec 17.