Malaysian politician calls for investigation over 'obscene' tattoo exhibition photos

A Malaysian politican has called for an investigation after pictures of a tattoo exhibition showing half-naked attendees went viral.

Mohammadin Ketapi the minister for tourism, arts and culture called the event "obscene" and argued that its staging was at odds with Malaysia’s predominantly Muslim culture.

Mr Ketapi said that although a permit had been issued to organisers, there had been no mention of nudity at the event beforehand.

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A tattoo artist works on a client during the International Malaysia Tattoo Expo in Kuala Lumpur last week. (Getty)
A tattoo artist works on a client during the International Malaysia Tattoo Expo in Kuala Lumpur last week. (Getty)

The Tattoo Malaysia Expo has been staged in the country’s capital city Kuala Lumpur since 2015, but has only drawn criticism this year.

The event involves participants from some 35 countries and includes displays of live tattooing.

Malaysia’s government has announced it will take "firm action" against the organisers after the controversial photos were shared.

A man takes pictures of a woman with tattoos during the event. (Getty)
A man takes pictures of a woman with tattoos during the event. (Getty)

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

He added: "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."

Three men display their tattoos at the expo. (Getty)
Three men display their tattoos at the expo. (Getty)

Around 60 per cent of Malaysia's 32 million people are Muslim.

According to The Malay Mail, the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCeB) which held the event, said in a statement: “MyCEB supports the organising of the Tattoo Malaysia Expo 2019 event after reviewing all relevant documents and related approvals from state and local authorities.

“For any event support approval, organisers are required to comply with all current terms and conditions.

“MyCEB reserves the right to withdraw any form of support in the event of a breach of the terms by the organiser as it currently does.”

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