ATHENS, May 12, 2019 (Xinhua) -- A participant shows off her tattoo during the 13th International Athens Tattoo Convention in Athens, Greece, on May 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Lefteris Partsalis/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 3 : A Malaysian Minister on Tuesday called a tattoo exhibition "obscene" and ordered an investigation after pictures of half-naked men and women went viral.

In a statement, Mohammadin Ketapi, 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, adding that the show "was not Malaysian culture... The majority of Malaysians are Muslim", the BBC reported.

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," Ketapi said in a statement.

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

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.

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