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Cairo: A Saudi municipality official has been sacked after signs displaying proverbs deemed inappropriate at a local festival had drawn criticism and derision.

Head of the Deba municipality in Tabuk in north-western Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulrahim has been relieved of his position and Abdulrhaman Fahd has been appointed in his place over the controversy triggered by the signs, Saudi media reported.

The sacking has been prompted by the controversy over the signs, according to Okaz newspaper.

Online images of the signs displayed at Deba’s “Waves and Flowers” went viral, showing proverbs that provoked sharp criticism and sarcasm. One much-maligned proverb read: “The goat is on loose while the billy goat sits at home”. Another read: "May you go to the grave and I get rid of you”. Detractors condemned the proverbs as inappropriate and outmoded.

In response, the municipality removed the signs, saying the phrases considered "unsavoury" were shown at a pavilion in the festival allocated for 250 local proverbs. The festival was staged at the coastal city during this past Islamic Eid Al Fitr feast.