By John Isaac
THE Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 (MPWM 2020) proceeded without a hiccup in Putrajaya on Saturday night despite attempts by a government-linked religious advocacy group attempting to get the event cancelled.
The PAS-led Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) softened its stance in the run-up to the event by setting conditions for the event organiser, including demanding that their Muslim contestants be dropped.
However, the event did not accede to the demands of Yadim chairperson Nasrudin Hassan, who is also part of the PAS syura council.
The organiser, which maintained that the pageant is aimed at creating awareness against body shaming and does not involve participants donning sexy clothing as perceived by Nasrudin, kept the event along those lines.
Melissa Mohan Tyndall was crowned the top winner – Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 in the finals last night and will represent Malaysia at the Miss Plus World Texas later this year.
Reports in Malaysiakini said the pageant also crowned two other winners including a Muslim contestant.
Shakti Chhabra took the title of Miss Plus Intercontinental Malaysia 2020 while Jastina Mohd Junus was given the title of Miss Plus World Humanitarian Ambassador.
Jastina said she was proud that her charitable work was recognised.
“I’m a mother to a special child who is deaf and mute. I sent my child to a special school and found that there were many poor students.
“Every year, I will organise donation drives to help them, including sponsoring their school fees or any necessary help,” she said.
Addressing Yadim’s objections to the event, Jastina believed it was 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 said.
“This event is not about who is the prettiest. You can see our sisterhood on stage regardless of whether it is Indian, Chinese or Malay, we love, support and empower each other – that is the goal of the event,” she said.
MPWM executive director Ziinine AS Britshi also highlighted the events’ multiracial mix in his welcome message.
There were 24 finalists, 10 of whom are Muslims. Two participants withdrew from the event for undisclosed reasons.
Among the audience included some notable women in the corporate world.
They include former Bank Rakyat chairperson Noripah Kamso, Securiforce Logistik Sdn Bhd executive director Nur Sharmila Shaheen Mirza and Sheikha Fashion Hub founder Norzihan Ahmad Latt.