Tattoo expo organisers hauled up over half-naked models

Participants at the 2019 Tattoo Malaysia Expo in Kuala Lumpur. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A business tourism body under the tourism, arts and culture ministry today said that the organisers of an international tattoo convention in Kuala Lumpur have been called to give their statements following the circulation of pictures showing half-naked models at the event.

The Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) however said the 2019 Tattoo Malaysia Expo had provided the necessary documentation and obtained approval from the authorities.

In a statement, it said conventions such as this were able to boost the economy and tourism industry.

“Additionally, the art of tattooing is one of the cultures that are significant to the communities in Sabah and Sarawak,” it said.

It said the organisers were responsible for ensuring that all events proceeded according to the rules and regulations.

“MyCEB has the right to cancel any form of support if it is found that any terms and conditions set were violated by the organisers, such as what has happened,” it added.

The expo, held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Nov 29 to Dec 1, saw participants from 35 nations. It was the fourth of its kind following the Sabah International Tattoo and Culture Convention in 2015 and the Sabah International Tattoo Conventions in 2016 and 2017.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said this was the first time such incidents had occurred in public since the expo debuted in 2015.

“I understand that it was a closed-door event, but it breached the norms of morality, and I have instructed MyCEB to investigate the matter.

“Organising an international event is good for the national tourism industry, but not this way. It does not reflect the real Malaysia which is full of manners and morals,” he said in a statement.

He also said the ministry had given no approval for semi-nude modelling.

“It is impossible that the ministry would approve an application which has obscene elements because that is not Malaysian culture,” he added.

“We will wait for a full report from MyCEB and we will not hesitate to take legal action if they are found to have violated the set conditions.”