'Love and Sex with Robots' conference in JB's Iskandar Malaysia causes a stir among officials

A screenshot of the conference's website.
A screenshot of the conference's website.PHOTO: LOVEANDSEXWITHROBOTS.ORG

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A "Love and Sex with Robots" conference in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor Baru is getting state officials here hot and bothered under the collar.

While the state tourism office has denied that it was consulted over the event, an attempt to contact the organisers of the conference - touted to be the congress to discuss legal, ethical and moral issues on the topic - has been unsuccessful.

According to the organisers' website at loveandsexwithrobots.org, the event was supposed to be held from Nov 16 to Nov 19 in Iskandar Johor. However, no local or international contact number was listed and e-mails to the two speakers at the event were also unanswered.

A click on a link on the website brings the visitors to another webpage named Advances in Computer Entertainment Conference, on which the location of the event and the Tourism Ministry logo are posted.

Johor Tourism Department assistant director Amirrul Asyraf Ibrahim said approvals for such events would not have come easily and usually denied as it could touch on sensitive issues.

"The organisers will need to apply for permits from the local district office and local government before holding any event. Our departmentmerely facilitates events and so far, we have not been approached," he said here yesterday.

Mr Amirrul said he was told that the organisers had initially approached the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) office in Kuala Lumpur under a different name - Advances in Computer Entertainment Conference - ACE 2015.

"But now, they are using another name to promote the conference. Maybe they are trying to hype things up to get more participants. But I was told that MyCEB has asked them to remove all their logos and has even issued them a show cause letter last week," he said.

Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz had reportedly said he was appalled that such a conference would be held in the country as it went against social norms.

He had also expressed shock that the organiser's website carried the Tourism Malaysia's logo for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

All the logos and event venue have since been removed.

In a statement, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said they neither supported nor promoted this kind of event.