KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — The organiser of the Miss/Mrs Plus World Malaysia 2020 has hit back at accusations claiming its pageants of being hedonistic and exploitative to women, stressing how their objectives of creating awareness and women empowerment could not have been more misconstrued.
The organiser, in its defence, 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.
A statement posted by the organisers on its Facebook page this morning outlined how its pageants are held with objectives like creating a stronger awareness against body shaming and bullying, and promoting and participating in humanitarian and education-driven modules, in mind.
“We teach our participants and queens' world's diplomacy, humanitarian work, respect of cultures and diversity, and how to be role models of peace and love.
“Even our theme is ‘Queens with Causes’, which serves a noble purpose. Is that not a great academy for training and transformation?” read their statement.
This comes after Putrajaya-linked Muslim evangelical foundation Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) said it would be urging the government to cancel the pageant after labelling it “hedonistic” and alleging that it was “exploiting women”.
Yadim’s chairman, PAS’ Nasruddin Hassan, alleged such programmes have never been endorsed by any religion, likened it to the hedonistic culture of civilisations that have long been extinct, and claimed that authorities worldwide would have discouraged the running of such programmes amid a pandemic and urged Malaysia do the same.
Miss/Mrs Plus World Malaysia in response today stressed how its team has made the necessary arrangements to adhere to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures for events with audiences.
It added how the venue is in Putrajaya, an area under the recovery movement control order (MCO) that allows for events with a limited number of guests, and that the main event would be streamed online and with it always intended to be a virtual gala.
“The gala, which will be held on January 2, 2021 in a recovery MCO state, will have limited seats.
“It will be more of a virtual gala where people can watch the grand final live streamed on Facebook from home,” read their statement.
Additionally, the organisers pointed out how the local winner will go on to represent Malaysia at the Miss Plus World pageant in the United States, and that her participation on the international stage would give positive exposure to Malaysia.
“Stopping Malaysian ladies from participating in this international pageant will be a big loss for Malaysia and the world may have a bad perception of the country and the way it treats its women,” they added.