Winners crowned at Miss Plus World Malaysia pageant despite protests from religious-linked groups

PETALING JAYA: The Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 (MPWM 2020) grand final gala night went ahead without problems on Saturday (Jan 2) despite protests from religious-linked groups calling for its cancellation.

Melissa Mohan Tyndall was crowned winner and will represent Malaysia at the Miss Plus World pageant in Texas in the United States later this year.

During the two-hour event, two other winners, including a Muslim contestant, were also crowned.

Shakti Chhabra won the Miss Plus Intercontinental Malaysia 2020 title while Jastina Mohd Junus was awarded the Miss Plus World Humanitarian Ambassador title.

Jastina said that she was proud that all her charitable work had been recognised.

She also believed that the negative reaction to the pageant had been "a misunderstanding."

“As you can see tonight, we are wearing inner (clothing) with long gowns. So it is not an issue.

“I still wear a hijab, and there are no objections for me to maintain my image as a woman who wears the hijab,” she was quoted as saying by an online portal.

Jastina added that the pageant’s purpose was to highlight the sense of empowerment that comes from the bonds of sisterhood, rather than a woman’s looks, and therefore, she hoped it can be held again in the future.

Earlier, Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) had demanded for the cancellation of Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 Grand Final Gala.

Yadim president Nasrudin Hassan submitted a memorandum to the local authorities, questioning why such an event was allowed in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PAS muslimat wing also criticised the pageant, saying the event is contrary to the moral values of Islam and Malaysia.

In a Facebook post, the event organiser said the pageant was aimed at creating awareness against body-shaming and bullying.

The organiser, in its defence, also said its pageants intentionally disregarded “trivial” pageant activities like requiring participants to don swimwear, and instead focused on celebrating, promoting and elevating plus-size women's beauty, intelligence and confidence.

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