Malaysian minister criticises 'obscene, half naked' tattoo show in Kuala Lumpur

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Man getting a tattoo
Pictures from the Tattoo Malaysia Expo have gone viral online

A Malaysian minister has called a tattoo exhibition “obscene” and ordered an investigation after pictures of half-naked men and women went viral.

The minister for tourism, arts and culture said that while a permit was issued, there was no green light for any form of nudity at the event.

Mohammadin Ketapi said the show “was not Malaysian culture…the majority of Malaysians are Muslim”.

Recently, there has been more debate about Islamic conservatism in Malaysia.

The Tattoo Malaysia Expo drew participants from some 35 countries and was held over the weekend in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The show has taken place since 2015, but only this year drew criticism from the government, which announced “firm action” against the organisers.

“It is impossible for the ministry to approve of any programme that contains obscenity such as this,” Mr Ketapi said in a statement.

Pictures showed heavily-tattooed participants in semi-nude poses. Malaysian media blurred some of the images.

Woman with a tattoo on her exposed back
The half-naked men with tattoos

Mr Ketapi said: “We will wait for the full investigation report and will not hesitate to take legal action if they are found to have been in violation of set conditions.”

Around 60% of Malaysia’s 32 million people are Muslim, and critics say the country has been moving towards more religious conservatism.

A religious court this year sentenced five men to jail, caning and fines for attempting gay sex.

In 2018, two women were caned for lesbian sex in the conservative state of Terengganu.

Woman getting a tattoo

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