PENANG, Malaysia - A five and a half minute video has created a huge furore in Malaysia.
The video shows a group of people - both men and women - in the buff frolicking on a beach in Penang.
They were apparently participating in what was termed the "Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza", the Malay Mail reported.
Among others, the event participants were seen racing one another in the nude, performing kettle bell exercises around a campfire and a "Gangnam-style horse dance" where a woman straddles a man on his back as he walks forward.
In one activity, a naked woman was seen trying to climb over three men as they lie shoulder-to-shoulder in the sand.
All the activities were performed without a stitch on.
On Facebook, the video was shared over 260 times and has triggered a debate over its authenticity.
It was uploaded on video sharing website Vimeo by one Albert Yam two months ago, but was taken down yesterday afternoon, The Star reported.
According to the video, 18 nudists took part in the undated event.
The exact location of the beach was also not specified, though the summary claimed that the group took a boat ride out of Teluk Bahang Jetty to reach a "secret beach that is located around the back" of Penang island.
A park ranger taking care of the beach had also allegedly granted clearance for the event, according to the video summary.
Meanwhile, the Penang state government said it has no knowledge of a "nude sports" event.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state would not even approve a casino for Penang, let alone a nude sports event.
"We'll let the police investigate the matter," Mr Lim told journalists yesterday.
Online opinion was split down the middle.
Some Internet users defended the "naturists", saying the group had every right to go nude as it was at a secluded location away from the public eye.
But others said it was illegal to go naked in public.
Twitter user Laylamajusi said that she believes that it was time to start talking about naturalism in Malaysia and that she was a supporter of nude beaches.
"Personally, I endorse nudism/naturism. There's nothing wrong with it if they were doing it privately," she tweeted.
"We were born nude. So why must we fear the very state we were born in," she added.
Twitter user Nudeboyuk said that the "games" looked like fun.
On the other hand, user Zulhimiamar said that the video did not offer a "pretty sight".
"When they say nude, I thought it would be a pretty sight. I was wrong," he tweeted.
Others were outraged.
User HRDipendra said: "It's a good thing that Malaysia has laws against indecency. The Nude Sports Games 2014 is why we need laws on indecency and public morals."
Politicians also jumped into the fray.
Umno assemblyman Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain told liberal news portal Malaysiakini: "We have to ascertain whether the event is true or not, let's not politicise the issue, as no political party in Malaysia will accept such an event."
"So we are afraid the video may be doctored, but we are looking into this."
He said he has asked authorities to check the registration records to ascertain if any groups resembled the ones seen organising the nudist event in the video.
The process of checking the registration records will take a while as the place has some 50,000 visitors over the last three months, he said.
He urged the person who captured the video to come forward and verify the matter.
Mr Shah Headan said the video has tarnished not only Penang but Malaysia as a whole.
This article was first published on August 6, 2014.
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