In response to a deadly earthquake that killed more than a dozen people in Sabah, Malaysia, on June 5, the Malaysian government is claiming that naked tourists caused the earthquake.
Supposedly, the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, which was Malaysia’s strongest in 39 years, was caused by a group of 10 foreign tourists who posed naked on top of a mountain and “showed disrespect to the sacred mountain,” according to Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
Photos of the naked tourists were taken at the peak of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest point, days before the earthquake and were then posted to the national park’s public Facebook page.
The accused hell-raising tourists include Canadian, Dutch, and German nationals. Five of the tourists are barred by Malaysian authorities from leaving the country on account of gross indecency.
The superstitious anger toward the tourists for their in-the-buff photo session isn’t restricted to government officials. Social media backlash from locals was just as harsh, with one local woman writing on Facebook, “You did not merely offend, but you spat, and you stomped on our faces. But most insultingly, you mocked our heritage. You defiled Aki so proudly. And now, as of today, she is forever deformed. Disfigured.”
“Aki” refers to the local name for Mount Kinabalu, which means “the revered place of the dead” in the local language. The mountain is a sacred site to many locals and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is not surprising that these tourists’ actions are being blamed for the earthquake. Malaysia is the same country that denied entry to ballet performers in 2012 due to the “indecent costumes” of leotards and pink tutus.
There is no word from any Malaysian government officials on whether naked tourists or ballerinas also caused the more than 50 aftershocks after the initial earthquake.