(Featured image from here)
Earlier this month, a 5-minute-long video surfaced online depicting a “nude sports games” held in at beach on Penang island. The video, released via the account of a man named Albert Yam, showcased 18 nudists aka “naturists” participating in physical activities out in the open in their respective “birthday suits”. Needless to say, the video went viral. Following which, it caught the attention of netizens as well as the authorities. Upon the discovery of the video Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stepped forward to say that the state would never permit such an illegal event to be held.
Naturism (what naturists practice) is a cultural movement that advocates and defends social nudity, most of which takes place on private property. To the community of naturists/nudists, it’s a lifestyle choice.
However, by law, the “Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza” is considered a lewd activity in a public place. Hence, the participants landed themselves in the heat of controversy and in trouble with the local authorities. Over the span of a month, one by one, they either turned themselves in or were remanded by the police to assist with investigations.
Just today, Star Online reported that 10 of the 18 nudists have been charged for the offence. They were charged under Section 294 (a) of the Penal Code for committing obscene acts which carries a jail sentence of up to 3 months or fine, or both. 6 of then 10 nudists pleaded guilty while 4 others claimed trial. They are:
- Loh Kok Hong, 41 years old (Pleaded guilty)
- Mu Wai Peng, 34 years old (Pleaded guilty)
- Chew Tok Hua, 57 years old (Claimed trial)
- Chan Chia Wen, 27 years old (Claimed trial)
- Justin Ang Ji Keng, 24 years old (Pleaded guilty)
- Albert Yam Kam Hoong, 54 years old (Pleaded guilty)
- Lionel Loo Joo Heng, 52 years old (Pleaded guilty)
- Teh Guan Hoon, 37 years old (Claimed trial)
- Kong Meng Long, 38 years old (Claimed trial)
- R. Nanda Kumar, 40 years old (Pleaded guilty)
It was also learnt that although all 10 are Malaysians, Albert and Loh held Singapore permanent resident status.
Yam also pleaded guilty to a second charge of circulating obscene video clips of the event. That offence under Section 292 carries a jail term of up to 3 years, a fine or both. Magistrate Muhammad Najib Ismail ordered him to be jailed a further 6 months, to run concurrently with the other jail term.
Loh, on the other hand, was said to be not a “naturist” like the other participants but was there to film it.
In passing sentence, Muhammad Najib said the 6 had broken the fifth principle of the nation’s Rukun Negara – Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan (Courtesy and Morality). He also said the local community could not accept public nudity, based on the negative reactions to the event.