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Miss Malaysia

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Notable winners of Miss Malaysia

  • Tengku Zanariah Tengku Ahmad (Miss International Malaya 1960) – Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia from 1984 to 1989.
  • Yasmin Yusoff (Miss Universe Malaysia 1978) – veteren actress, singer, radio presenter, former model
  • Michelle Yeoh (Miss World Malaysia 1983) – international actress
  • Fazira Wan Chek (Miss World Malaysia 1992) – actress, singer, TV host, businesswoman, model
  • Rahima Orchient Yayah (Miss World Malaysia 1994) – businesswoman, former model
  • Soo Wincci (Miss World Malaysia 2008) – actress, singer, model
  • Thanuja Ananthan (Miss World Malaysia 2009) – model, TV host, actress, humanitarian activist
  • Deborah Henry (Miss Universe Malaysia 2011) – motivational speaker, TV host, humanitarian activist, former model
  • Rubini Sambanthan (Miss International Malaysia 2014) – model, actress
  • Dewi Liana Seriestha (Miss World Malaysia 2014) – won Miss World Talent award in Miss World 2014 which then making her the first woman from Malaysia to receive the special award.
  • Alexis SueAnn Seow (Miss World Malaysia 2019) – model, emcee, fashion blogger
  • Francisca Luhong James (Miss Universe Malaysia 2020) – the first ever indigenous woman to win the title of Miss Universe Malaysia.
  • Nisha Thayananthan (Miss Earth Malaysia 2021) – full-time doctor, part time model

Miss Malaya

Before Malaysia was formed, Malaysian representatives represented the whole nation with a title of "Miss Malaya".

Miss Malaya Universe

Year Titleholder State Placement
1962 Sarah Al-Habshee Abdullah Kuala Lumpur Unplaced
1963 Nik Azizah Nik Yahya Kelantan Did not compete

Miss Malaya International

Year Titleholder State Placement
1960 Tengku Zanariah Tengku Ahmad Kelantan Unplaced
1961 Helen Tan Hong Lean Kuala Lumpur Top 15
1962 Brenda Maureen Alvisse Penang Unplaced
1963 Jasmin Mariam Idris Kuala Lumpur Did not compete

Titleholders at Big Four pageants

Malaysia has been represented in the Big Four international beauty pageants since 1960.[1][2] These are Miss World, Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss Earth.[3][4][5]

Colour Key

  •   Declared as Winner
  •   Ended as Runner-up
  •   Ended as one of the Finalists or Semi-finalists

Representative to Miss Universe

Representative to Miss World

Representative to Miss International

Representative to Miss Earth

Fatwa ruling in Malaysia

In Malaysia, female Muslims were denied participation in beauty pageants following the issue of a fatwa in 1996 by the Mufti of Selangor, Ishak Baharom.[6] The issue came to a nasty twist in July - September 1997 when four Malay participants joined the Miss Malaysian petite contest, only to be arrested by the authorities. In the ensuing public outcry and debate that followed, the effectiveness of the fatwa was shown given the influence of the Selangor's Mufti over the nation's sharia law.[7] The fatwa resonated with the ideology that Muslim women should cover up private parts of their body, or Aurat of which the beauty pageants' practices ran contrary to - even though such religious enactments also apply to male pageants.

In Kuala Lumpur on 21 July 2013, the organisers of Miss Malaysia World 2013 were forced to drop four of its Muslim finalists following a fatwa prohibiting Muslim women from joining beauty pageants. According to Wan Zahidi, the fatwa prohibiting Muslim women from joining beauty pageants was issued and gazetted under the Federal Territories Islamic Administration Act in February 1996.

In recent years, the National Fatwa Council, the country's highest Islamic body, had also issued rulings forbidding Muslims from using Botox and banned women from exhibiting tomboy behaviour, which it defined as behaving or dressing like men or taking part in lesbian sex.

The council came under heavy scrutiny for its proposal to ban yoga after a university lecturer advised people to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate from the teachings of Islam. The move was met with protests from progressive Muslim women's groups like Sisters in Islam who deemed the fatwas regressive while observers claimed it highlighted the worrying trend of overt Islamisation in Malaysia.[8]

The four contestants are:[9]

  1. Wafa Johanna de Korte, 19, Kuala Lumpur
  2. Sara Amellia Bernard, 20, Perak
  3. Miera Sheikh, 19, Malacca
  4. Kathrina Binti Ridzuan, 24, Kuala Lumpur

Nevertheless, a public outcry ensued, as members of the public questioned the way the religious authorities handled the matter as well as the abrupt ruling which came about – Muslim women in the past had participated in beauty pageants without much protest amongst the religious authorities.[10] This invoked the concerns of Mahathir's who had raised objections to the way the religious authorities had implemented and enforced the law – and questions including distinctions on religious laws and personal freedom were raised.[11] Nevertheless, the fatwa ruling has since been very effective; Muslim women have since then been deterred from joining any beauty pageants.[12] Malaysian beauty pageants, in compliance with the law, similarly denied Muslim individuals from participating.[13] However, Muslim women may still join smaller scale beauty pageant contests such as Dewi Remaja, Miss Intercontinental, and Miss Tourism International, provided that they don't display publicly wearing swimsuits.

See also


  1. ^ Jun, Kwanwoo (3 December 2003). "Lost in Storm's Debris: A Beauty Pageant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. ^ Kenya, News (15 July 2011). "Beauty with scandals". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  3. ^ Vietnam, News (8 October 2008). "Những scandal của Miss World". Vietnam Express. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  4. ^ Ibrahim, Lynda (13 September 2013). "The misses and missuses of the world". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  5. ^ Lowe, Aya (25 January 2016). "Philippines' Miss Universe returns home, ignites dreams". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  6. ^ Arskal Salim, Azyumardi Azra (2003). Shari'a and Politics in Modern Indonesia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 178. ISBN 981-230-187-9.
  7. ^ Ariel Heryanto, Sumit Kumar Mandal (2003). Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia. Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 0-415-30941-7.
  8. ^ "Miss Malaysia World Muslim finalists dropped after beauty pageant fatwa". 21 July 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  9. ^ "The girls behind the Miss Malaysia World controversy – Nation | The Star Online". The Star. Malaysia. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  10. ^ Norani Othman. "Islam and the State in Malaysia: A Problem of Democratization and Pluralism" (PDF). Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2006.
  11. ^ Zainah Anwar (16 September 1997). "Modern, and Moderate, Islam". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 10 March 2001.
  12. ^ "Family sees yet another beauty queen; Muslim hopeful pulls out". Daily Express, Sabah. 18 July 2006. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Better prizes offered in Miss Sabah pageant". The Star. 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009.

31. ^

External links