The company that prints copies of the International New York Times sold in Muslim-dominated Malaysia has blacked out the faces of pigs in two photos in the newspaper, sparking a wave of online ridicule.

KHL Printing on Wednesday superimposed black boxes on the pigs' faces in accordance with government guidelines, said a company employee who declined to be named.

"This is a Muslim country, so we covered the pigs' eyes," he told the AFP news agency. "We usually do that for the International New York Times - also for pictures of cigarettes, weapons, guns and nude pictures."

The front-page picture of a group of piglets in the United States accompanied an article on increasing consumer demand for antibiotic-free meat. Another picture of pigs accompanied the rest of the article on an inside page.

The printing company's censorship drew a flood of online comments, with many ridiculing the move.

"Poor piggies," one user wrote on Facebook, while another derided the blackout as "hilarious."

Officials with Malaysia's Home Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Around 60 percent of the country's 28 million people are Muslim ethnic Malays, and Muslims consider pigs to be unclean.

Though Malaysia is known for its relatively moderate version of Islam, the banning of books or other materials deemed offensive is common in the country.

Source: Agencies