Beauty pageants can boost tourism and put Malaysia in the world map

RECENTLY, it was reported in the news that the Kelantan PAS-led government was against the idea of a pageant organiser to bring contestants from around the world to promote Malaysian culture because it is deemed un-Islamic “to expose female bodies for public viewing”.

Interestingly, a further check with the organiser revealed that there are no Muslim contestant and no transgender participating in the event. While I am not an expert in Islam, I would like to point out that Muslim nations including Indonesia, Bahrain and Egypt have started to embrace beauty pageants.

These countries have representatives in the recent Miss Universe 2023. In fact, Pakistan sent its first ever delegate, Erica Robin, a Christian to compete in Miss Universe 2023.

Nowadays, many beauty pageant organisers have scrapped off the bikini segment of the pageant. Even if it has, contestants have a choice to don a burkini as in the recent Miss Universe or batik sarong and scarf.

Contestant Halima Aden Competes in hijab at Miss Minnesota USA Pageant 2016. She wore a “burkini” during the swimsuit competition – essentially a loose-cut wetsuit that allowed her to remain covered while still technically modeling swimwear. (Pic credit: Future Productions)

In fact, Malaysian beauty queens have raised the standard of beauty for our nation. Those who competed overseas have made headlines for ranking high and winning against other international delegates.

Manvin Khera made history as the first Malaysian to be crowned Miss Globe 2023. Amanda Ong and Sharon Liew both ranked top 16 and 14 in Mrs Universe 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Sangeet Kaur was crowned Mrs Global Tourism 2023 while Dr Venna Margharita won the Super Photo Model Universe 2023 world title in the recent Super Model Universe 2023.

(From left): Top 14 Mrs Malaysia Universe 2023 Sharon Liew; Top 16 Mrs Malaysia Universe 2022 Amanda Ong; and Mrs Global Tourism 2023 Sangeet Kaur

The Malaysian delegates made Malaysia proud not just because they won but they also made the world take notice of Malaysia which indirectly boosts our country’s tourism industry.

In all the beauty pageants, the delegates are required to showcase their national costumes which has also help promote our rich cultural heritage. So why not we look at beauty pageants with a positive mindset or see them through a wider lens that they have the potential to contribute to the Malaysian economy through the tourism industry?

Malaysia should be progressive, not regressive. – Nov 24, 2023


Francis Yip is an accomplished judge to numerous beauty pageants, including Mrs Fashion World 2019; Mrs Malaysia Universe 2022 and 2023; Mrs Malaysia Planet 2022; Mrs Malaysia Petite 2022; Mrs Legend Universal 2022; Mrs Earth Malaysia 2023; Super Model Universe 2023; Miss and Mrs Malaysia World Plus 2023/2024; and Queen of the World Malaysia 2023.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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