Unduk Ngadau

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Scarlett Megan Liew and Cheryl Lynn during the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2014 finale

Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan is a beauty pageant held annually during the Kaamatan cultural event in Sabah, Malaysia. The current Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan is Francisca Ester Nain of Karambunai who crowned as the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2019 at Hongkod Koisaan, Penampang on 31st May 2019. [1]


The Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant is held to commemorate the spirit of Huminodun, that she was of total beauty of the heart, mind and soul. The title comes from the ethnic word "Runduk Tadau". In Rungus Language, Runduk means "to communicate", and Tadau means "the Sun". Thus, it can be interpreted as to communicate with God asking for blessing of sunlight. The alternate meaning of "Unduk Ngadau" is "the girl crowned by the sunlight." Unduk Ngadau is one of the most recognisable cultural events in Sabah and the beauty pageant is unique to the state.

Joanna Kitingan (chairperson of UNK) said, “the Unduk Ngadau winner is supposed to be able to exude a high degree of moral because they are representing the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut women. We are also looking at a winner who can be the role model to the younger generation and has a spirit of voluntarism in being willing to sacrifice her time for the community, besides being intelligent to ably present our country, culture and tourism to the world."[2]

Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (1987–present)[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1987 Joan Gloria Tommy Tanjung Aru
1988 Jennie Alasa Penampang First runner up at Unduk Ngadau Penampang 1988. That year, Penampang sent two representatives.
1989 Deidre Peter Mojuntin Penampang She was the daughter of a local politician, the late Datuk Peter Mojuntin.
1990 Julia Agustine Tanjung Aru
1991 Sylvia Sandralisa Orow Tuaran Currently lives in New York City, New York, USA.
1992 Anita Pudin Petagas (the last Petagas winner is 1963)
1993 Luzie @ Lucy Tham Inanam (1st winner Inanam) Her sister, Lunny Tham was the Unduk Ngadau Inanam 2001.
1994 Agatha Nora Lojimin Penampang She was the Unduk Ngadau Labuan in 1992.
1995 Justinah Manius Kawang (The 1st winner Kawang) Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Papar 1995. However, she had the opportunity to represent Kawang.
1996 Lynnefra @ Lynn Alfera Wong Elopura (The 1st winner Elopura) Runners up in Unduk Ngadau Sandakan 1996.
1997 Jan Lisamarrie William Bongawan (The 1st winner Bongawan) Winner in Unduk Ngadau Papar 1997.
1998 Jeremia Ginajil Inanam 1st Runner Up Unduk Ngadau Inanam 1998. But represented Inanam because the original winner was underage.
1999 Kathie Renjus Inanam
2000 Regina Intang Melalap (The first district murut race winner) Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tenom 2000. She was represented Melalap.
2001 Nicolita Sanseh Masi Petagas 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Penampang 2001. Later won at Putatan. Finalist Dewi Remaja 2006.
2002 Patrecia Raymond Kiulu (1st winner Kiulu) 2nd runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2002.
2003 Daphne M.Iking Kuala Lumpur She hails from Tambunan and best known as a TV host, model and actress.
2004 Fharelynne Ivonne Henry Tamparuli (After 33 years Tamparuli never win since 1971,finally Tamparuli winner for the 2nd time in history UNK) 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2004. First runner up in Miss Sabah World 2006.
2005 Madelyne M.Nandu Penampang (More than 10 years Penampang never win,finally Penampang win again) Miss Malaysia Earth 2009.
2006 Devenna Jaikob Sulaman (1st winner from Sulaman) Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2006. She also won the Unduk Ngadau SAPP 2006 and Miss Sabah World 2008.
2007 Joanna Sue Henley Rampas Tuaran (the last winner Tuaran is 1991,now Tuaran is the winner UNK Sabah 2007 She is half British and was a runner up at Bintang RTM. She is the current political secretary to Chief Minister of Sabah, Shafie Apdal.[3] In 2019, she was elected the organizing chairperson for state Unduk Ngadau competition.[4]
2008 Leonie Lawrence Gontuni Penampang Her mother in law won the same title in 1973
2009 Appey Rowenna Januin Papar (this is the 5th time Papar winner after Papar wait 42years to winner again) Miss Malaysia Earth 2010. Her sister, Arveyna Pamella Januin was the Unduk Ngadau Papar in 2017 and placed 2nd runner up. In 2019 her youngest sister, Annette Rabecca Januin was the Unduk Ngadau Pantai Manis (Papar) 2019 and placed 1st runner up.
2010 Crystel Eve Huminodun William Majimbun Tanjung Aru (The last Tg. Aru winner is 1990) 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Kota Kinabalu 2010. Her mother, Esther Sikayun won the same title in 1984. She was first runner up at Miss Earth Malaysia 2011.
2011 Botiza Arthur S.Disimond Penampang Her cousin Christine Regina Carmellita Manjaji was crown Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2018.Her cousin place number 10/46 contestant Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2018. Her aunt crown Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Sabah 1986 and her aunt Jane Constance Disimond was 2nd RU Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Sabah 1979.
2012 Melinda Louis Telupid (the first winner Telupid) She was the Unduk Ngadau Telupid 2008. Because of her studies, she unable to compete until she competed again in 2012. Her older sister, Michelle Elaine Louis was the Unduk Ngadau Telupid 2006 and her younger sister Shienna Natalie Louis was also Unduk Ngadau Telupid 2015.
2013 Immaculate Lojuki Kota Kinabalu (The 1st winner Kota Kinabalu) Her sister, Mary Grace Lojuki competed in 2018 representing Kota Kinabalu and placed as the 5th Runner Up. Was placed Top

7 in Unduk Ngadau Inanam 2012. She also was Miss International Malaysia 2015.

2014 Cheryl Lynn Pinsius Kota Kinabalu Previously, she was the Unduk Ngadau Inanam 2011. First runner up Miss Southeast Asia 2016. Her sister, Cracy Pinsius was the Unduk Ngadau Inanam 2000.
2015 Ryannie Neils Yong Tanjung Aru 2nd runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Kota Kinabalu 2015. She was Miss Grand Putatan 2019, later joined Miss Grand Sabah 2019 and won the title Miss Scuba Sabah 2019.
2016 Sherry Anne Laujang Penampang (Penampang wait winner 5 years since 2011) Her sister Samantha Sharon Laujang was crown unduk ngadau kaamatan Penampang and 4th RU Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Sabah 2012. Then her sister Samantha Sharon Laujang representing Putatan at Unduk Ngadau 2014 and place 3rd RU Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Sabah 2014.
2017 Kerinah Mah Kota Kinabalu She is a Sino-Tombonuo[5] and was the Unduk Ngadau Pitas 2015 and was titled as "Tati Topiodo" (Miss Natural Beauty)in Sodop Unduk Ngadau . She was also Miss Grand Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu 2019, later joined Miss Grand Sabah 2019 and was crowned Miss Earth Sabah 2019.
2018 Hosiani James Jaimis Inanam (After 19 years, Inanam never win since 1999. Now, Tati Hosiani bring the district Inanam to win UNK 2018) From Tambunan, representing Inanam. She was second runner up at Unduk Ngadau Tambunan 2015. She won the subsidiaries title "Tati Topiodo" prior to her crowning.
2019 Francisca Ester Nain Karambunai (1st winner Karambunai) She is the tribe of Dusun Tindal ethnicity and was the Unduk Ngadau Kota Belud 2017.She is from Kota Belud. She represented Kota Belud at the state level and secured a Top 15 placement.[6]

Former editions (1960–1986)[edit]

Before the official title was changed, the pageant was called Miss Kadazan in the 60s, Miss Harvest Festival in the 70s and Ratu Pesta Menuai from 1980 to 1986. The title Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan began to be used from 1987 until present.

Miss Kadazan 1960–1970[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1960 Yong Mee Lan @ Mui Lan Penampang (1st winner from Penampang) Her title was Hahaangai 1960. 25 contestants from various districts including some areas in Penampang competing in this very first competition.
1961 Talian Bunal Papar (1st winner from Papar)
1962 Marcella Tiansim Papar
1963 Mary Badak Putatan (1st winner from Putatan)
1964 Rita Bagong Tuaran (1st winner from Tuaran)
1965 Molina Daniel Papar
1966 Patricia Sinidol Penampang She was the late Datuk Fred Sinidol's daughter. Her sister, Evelyn Sinidol won the same title in 1972.
1967 Florence Bibi Papar She is Punjabi-mixed and is the current (2018) Pro Chancellor of Lincoln University College, a private college in Kelana Jaya, Malaysia.
1968 Rita Mojilis Penampang She is a local singer along with her sisters.
1969 Sylvia Totu Penampang Her sister, Edwina Totu won the same title in 1976.
1970 Helen Mojiniu Penampang

Miss Harvest Festival 1971–1980[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1971 Mary @ Mili Jaikoh Imbayan Tamparuli (1st winner Tamparuli) She was the 2nd runner-up in the previous edition.
1972 Evelyn Sinidol Penampang Her sister, Patricia Sinidol won the same title in 1966.
1973 Prisca Tikoh Penampang She is mother-in-law of the Unduk Ngadau 2008.
1974 Susanna Jipanis Penampang
1975 Rita Sikawah Penampang
1976 Edwina Totu Penampang Her sister, Sylvia Totu won the same title in 1969.
1977 Mary Marjorie Kinjau Penampang Her sister, Janet Kinjau won the same title in 1983. She was first runner up in 1976 contest.
1978 Veronica Jefferin Penampang
1979 Mary Solly Tanjung Aru (1st winner Tanjung Aru)
1980 Roslina Amit Tuaran The only Muslim winner ever.

Ratu Pesta Menuai 1981–1986[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1981 Janeta Anthony Dabi Penampang Second runner up at Unduk Ngadau Penampang 1981.
1982 Margaret Dolly Jimayol Beaufort (1st winner Klias/Beaufort) Was second runner up at Unduk Ngadau Penampang 1982. Later competed in Beaufort and won.
1983 Mary Janet Kinjau Penampang Her sister, Mary Marjorie Kinjau won the same title in 1977.
1984 Esther Sikayun Penampang Her daughter, Crystel Eve Huminodun won the same title in 2010.
1985 Florence Jipiu Penampang
1986 Johanna Sybil Disimond Penampang Her first cousin, Jane Peter Disimond (representing Penampang) was the 2nd runner-up in 1979, while their niece, Botiza Arthur S.Disimond, won in 2011. Her niece Christine Regina Carmellita Manjaji representing Tuaran was number 10/46 contestant Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Sabah 2018.


Some districts hold joint pageants which produce more than one representative. Notably, Tuaran and Tamparuli hold a joint pageant with the winner going on to representing Tuaran, and the first runner-up representing Tamparuli.

Beginning in 1995, Sabahans residing in Peninsular Malaysia was celebrating Kaamatan but the selection of the Unduk Ngadau for Klang Valley first held at 2000, which the winner was Angeline Ongkunik. The first winner who won the state crown representing Klang Valley (used Kuala Lumpur) was Daphne M. Iking in 2003. Then in the following year, Janeitha Stephen was a representative from Klang Valley as well, placed as the first runner up to Tamparuli's Fharelynne Ivonne Henry in 2004. Many of the Klang Valley representatives had their best placement in the competition: 2001, Ryna Rychie James (2nd runner up), 2005, Susanna James Kenson (4th runner up), 2007, Jaslinder Kaur (6th runner up), 2008, Anne Marie Tauriq Khan (6th runner up), 2013, Ledesma Steven (5th runner up), 2014, Maylesthelyn Ley Matius (6th runner up), 2016, Patricia Elsa Jimy (5th runner up), 2017, Sharlina Gilbert Mojinun (5th runner up) and 2019, Vinny Alvionitta Sasising (6th runner up). In 2014, the state of Johor in Peninsular Malaysia has been included in the list for the final competition with condition the representative is of Sabahan KDMR descent. The first winner for Johor was Liz Lorena Rayner who placed as the 2nd runner up at the pageant. The state of Penang was also debuted in 2018. First won by Sherleni Madawal (Unduk Ngadau Klang Valley 2015). In 2019, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur sent their first representatives to the final pageant, Miss Cassandra Devi Jeremiah.

Since 2012, the final question format has become more interesting when the final contestants must answer two given questions in their mother tongue and in Bahasa Malaysia respectively. Eventually, Melinda Louis from Telupid was the first contestant ever who succeeded the newly formatted final round and she was crowned as Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2012.

The state-level pageant is held on 31 May annually at the Hongkod Koisaan building or known as the KDCA building in Penampang, and is the highlight and ending point of the month-long Kaamatan celebrations.

Districts/sub-districts by winning the title[edit]

District/sub-district Titles Year(s)
Penampang (this area is full of rich beauty) 24 1960, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2016
Tanjung Aru 5 1979, 1987, 1990, 2010, 2015
Papar 5 1961, 1962, 1965, 1967, 2009
Tuaran 4 1964, 1980, 1991, 2007
Inanam 4 1993, 1998, 1999, 2018
Putatan 3 1963, 1992, 2001
Kota Kinabalu 3 2013, 2014, 2017
Tamparuli 2 1971, 2004
Elopura 1 1996
Sulaman 1 2006
Karambunai 1 2019
Kiulu 1 2002
Kuala Lumpur 1 2003
Melalap 1 2000
Telupid 1 2012
Beaufort 1 1982
Kawang 1 1995
Bongawan 1 1997


  1. ^ Barlocco, Fausto (2013). Identity and the State in Malaysia. Routledge. p. 126. ISBN 9781317932390.
  2. ^ Lan (21 April 2016). "Unduk Ngadau 2016: Is she the next Huminodun or a Beauty Queen for 365 days?". Food, Culture, Arts, Places and Events in Malaysia & beyond... Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Sabah minister says Christians need not worry about their rights". Bernama. 21 April 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  4. ^ Unto, Ricardo (24 April 2019). "Unduk Ngadau contest to see changes, improvement". Daily Express. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  5. ^ Geraldine, Avila (31 May 2017). "Kerinah Mah, crowned the new Unduk Ngadau queen". New Straits Times. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  6. ^ Miwil, Olivia (31 May 2019). "Karambunai beauty Francisca crowned 'unduk ngadau'". New Straits Times. Retrieved 3 June 2019.

External links[edit]