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What if Miss USA visits Malaysia?

Lainie Yeoh has no interest in beauty pageants (or the first Muslim to be crowned Miss USA). However, she firmly believes that anyone in Malaysia should have the freedom to participate in beauty pageants, should they desire.

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32 Responses to “What if Miss USA visits Malaysia?”

  1. nasih says:

    Well, I just don’t agree with your personal opinion of giving freedom to Muslims to participate in beauty pageants. It’s not me who declare openly that we’re an Islamic country, but our very own leaders.

    If we are so, then Muslims shouldn’t be given the right to participate. They’re Muslim and therefore should know their limits; what they can and cannot do.

    Gambling is now ‘legal’, says the government, when gambling is haram, or a solid ‘no’ in Islam. And now we want to let Muslims participate in beauty pageants? This is ridiculous.

  2. Subliminal says:


    Does it state clearly in Islam that a woman should not or can’t participate in a beauty pageant? And isn’t religion a personal matter?

  3. Chen says:

    I <3 your jail, Lains.

  4. interacial says:

    There are numerous interracial orgies being organized in the US, perhaps we should start one here.. with Ms Lainie Yeoh being the organiser.

  5. M.K. says:

    It all depends on how you look at it. We had Muslim girls taking part in our local pagents until the early 90’s when this practice was stopped with Era Fazira being the last Miss Muslim Malaysia. Are we to agree that Era and the other Muslim beauty queens (before her) are immoral women?

  6. Lainie says:

    Hi nasih: Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that it is for individual practitioners of religion to know their limits, what they can or cannot do.

    What I disagree with, is the government and religious officials deciding on behalf of the individual. I also disagree with the way fatwas are legislated in Malaysia without due process.

    While some politicians may have declared that Malaysia is an Islamic country, others have also declared that we are secular, with Islam being the official religion — as stated in our constitution.

    You can check our MP Watch section for confirmation that our MPs have different views on this matter.

  7. U-Jean says:

    I think beauty pageants set impossible standards of beauty for women. I also agree with Lainie that anyone should have the freedom to participate in beauty pageants should they wish to do so.

    We can see clear gender inequality where Muslim men are allowed to participate in male beauty pageants whereas Muslim women are not allowed to participate in female beauty pageants.

    Men’s bodies are art and women’s are [sinful]?

  8. Russell Lei says:

    @nasih: As to whether Malaysia is an Islamic country or not, please refer to the Federal Constitution, not what the leaders declare.

    The basis of your argument for prohibiting anyone joining any activity based solely on their religious affiliation is therefore flawed.

    As the [cartoonist] points out, we may not like the activity concerned, but it doesn’t mean others won’t like it too. So, living in a free country, we mind our own business.

    If they want to take part, it’s their business. If they want to gamble, it’s their loss.

    Who are you to meddle into their affairs? My advise is that you stay away from it, ’cause that’s your business too.

  9. Z00L says:

    The Miss USA winner is a US citizen. The pageant is their business. They can organise any pageant for all I care. But that doesn’t mean that when she visits Malaysia, the govt will imprison her. The caricature, in a sense, is misleading.

  10. nasih says:

    Thanks to all for the feedback on my comment. I don’t say the authorities should [always tell the people how to behave]. But sometimes we need the line which can be provided by the authorities to let us stay on the right side, and to make the right judgements and decision.

    Yes, @Russel Lei. I make my judgements based on religious [grounds] because that’s what I think my religion demands; to curb wrong-doings and to encourage good deeds among Muslims. i think it’s my responsibility to make it clear here that beauty pageant competitions don’t suit what our religion demands.

    Whether they want to participate or not, it should be their own [decision], then that’s their right. And yes, it’s my business to not to dip my finger into their matters. But it is also my business to carry out my responsibility, that’s all.

    As far as I can remember, in the constitution, Islam is the official religion of our country. Pardon me if I’ve made a wrong initial judgement on this issue because this is as what I have known up until now.

    Last but not least, I am not saying we shouldn’t have beauty pageants in our country, but just to disagree with the participation of Muslim women, if there are any. And again, should they want to participate, still, then it’s their own choice and decision.

  11. Passer by says:

    also to Nasih,

    Simple question, how many “Muslims” actually want to be Muslim and believe wholeheartedly that they believe everything that a Muslim is supposed to believe? I put the word in inverted commas because [some] people who commit certain sins (free sex, drinking, gambling – basically the fun stuff) don’t actually believe or want to be Muslim. They are only so on their IC and can’t leave the religion.

    Basically it is [some people] who want them to be Muslims not the individual themselves.

  12. megabigBLUR says:

    Slightly off topic, when I first heard about Rima Fakih’s win, Wikipedia did not at the time have info on her religion so I wondered if she was perhaps non-Muslim. I knew two Arab-American sisters at the college I attended and assumed they were Muslim because, well, I grew up in Malaysia. Then I took a painting class with one of them where for the final project, she showed a symbolic painting of the “doors of heaven” and briefly mentioned her religion…Christian. Hairan betul aku. I shouldn’t have been though because I knew by that point that there are indigenous Christians in various Arab countries.

    I also know a Persian girl who eats pork but that’s another story. Anyway, my point is that we can’t automatically assume anyone of Middle East origin is Muslim, or even if they are that they’re super religious.

  13. interracial says:

    @ U-Jean

    TNG should have highlighted our local Interracial orgies, instead of “What If” in another country.

  14. Actually, the current Miss USA identifies as both Muslim and Christian.

  15. c says:

    The Government, if they are mindlful, may as well ban all P Ramlee movies that do not do not depict the current sentiments. On the contrary, RTM 2 continues to screen those movies (spiced with Western values) repeatedly.

    Do our non-Muslim participants really represent “Miss Malaysia” when not all Malaysians participate? Should we rename the misleading title to “Miss Non-Muslim Malaysia”?

    I wonder where is tolerance nowadays when so many restrictions are imposed on Muslims. Are today’s Muslims better than before?

  16. AS u Like says:

    Aiyah so simple ..ask the Muslim girls to convert […]!!

  17. zek says:

    russell lei:

    As a society, we cannot just “mind our own business”.

  18. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Why whack Malaysia for this? Do you think that Miss USA will get a different treatment in any other Muslim country? How about Miss USA visiting Indonesia or Pakistan or the Gulf States etc? Why pick on Malaysia when the entire Muslim world is available? Or are you just trying to ridicule Islam?

  19. Merah Silu says:

    In Malaysia the Muslims are not allow to participate in beauty pageants. Similarly, they are not allow to enter casinos to gamble. If a Muslim is caught for illegal sex, he or she will be penalised while the non-Muslim partner will not be charged in the Syariah court. Muslims are also expected to show a good example and are not allowed to drink alcohol.

    There are a lot of other guidelines specifically for Muslims in this country which will lead them to be better persons as well as better citizens. For the ‘infidel’, there have their own set of rules which glorify the freedom of choice. So it is up to them to gamble, frequent prostitutes and imitate the lifestyle of the religious-free Americans or Europeans. Well, they claim to be guided by their own religion, however, they also need freedom to change their religion freely.

    It is up to them to do what they like but they should not comment on the official religion of this country. They themselves prefer their rule of jungle [law] for their lifestyle, and for that matter they have the right to practice it. But do not comment on others if your knowledge it is limited.

  20. farha says:

    Assuming Rima Fakih is really a Muslim, then I think the scenario in the cartoon is a jab at how she might be treated here in Malaysia…At least that’s how I see it.

    And like what nasih said, though Muslim women shouldn’t be allowed to participate, they still do (like Rima) because they want to.

    And even where penalties are concerned, it’s inconsistent. Actress Erra Fazira was a beauty queen in the early 90s (Miss Malaysia 1992, I think) but I don’t think any action was taken against her (I stand corrected). Then there was that famous case involving three women in Selangor (anyone remember that?) who were penalised by JAIS, either for modeling or for participating in a pageant (again I stand corrected)…???

  21. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    This issue of Muslims participating in beauty pageants – have been dealt with extensively in Muslim clerical circles the world over. The consensus is a definite NO. I do not see anything funny in this cartoon.

    In fact, I find it offensive. Why? Because in any Muslim country – a Muslim beauty queen would be held suspect. Imagine if this Miss USA visited Qatar or Kuwait or Pakistan or Indonesia or Brunei and so on. She would face enormous criticism from Muslims. So why hit on Malaysia alone on this issue ? It would be more logical to hit on Islam itself rather than to single out Malaysia.

    I think TNG had better apply self-censorship and not go overboard on criticising Islam. I myself am a modernist-cum-reformist in my attitude towards Islam. But TNG goes way overboard. If you want to reform Islam – then please write scholarly articles and not superficial cartoons that can be mis-interpreted to be an outright insult against Islam. I look forward to more scholarly articles on TNG that encourages a modern view of Islam.

  22. Ghoul says:

    RE: Imagine if this Miss USA visited Qatar or Kuwait or Pakistan or Indonesia or Brunei and so on. She would face enormous criticism from Muslims. So why hit on Malaysia alone on this issue? It would be more logical to hit on Islam itself rather than to single out Malaysia.

    Since we are all MALAYSIANS here (or close to), and talking about an issue that is close to everyone’s heart, it makes no sense to use other countries as example. Why must we look elsewhere when the issue is internal? Must we always compare with other countries? And why turn this into a religious issue when it is most likely just a national issue on interest?

    As for the person who mentioned Indonesia…AFAIK, you can have parents where one is a Muslim and the other a Christian. The children have a choice…but that’s beside the point.

  23. HangTuahHangJebatCina says:

    “Why pick on Malaysia when the entire Muslim world is available?”

    Lainie: I agree with the good Dr, I think you should do one for several Muslim countries, illustrating what would happen if a Muslim woman were to parade around in a swimsuit. Let’s start with Saudi, move over to Pakistan and Afghanistan, then over to this part of the world, Malaysia and Indonesia.

  24. interracial says:

    Ms Lainie Yeoh can participate in any beauty contest if she so wants, rather than writing something about it. She doesn’t have to be smart, she just needs to be a super dumb woman…She just need to wear a g-string and two nipple tapes. She will win eventually.

    Editor’s note: Just curious: Are you trying to condemn misogyny by resorting to misogynistic rhetoric?

    Shanon Shah
    Columns and comments editor

  25. HangTuahHangJebatCina says:

    Wrt self censorship. Rather than expect TNG to comply with one’s expections, why not practice one’s own self censorship? You’ve got a publication staffed by gays, liberal Muslims and secular humanists, for Lucifer’s sake.

    I practice my own self censorship and don’t read myKMU or Mahaguru58 sites because I find their writings appaling.

  26. Liyana D. says:

    re: Syed Alwi’s comment,

    “It would be more logical to hit on Islam itself rather than to single out Malaysia.”

    but soon followed by,

    “please write scholarly articles and not superficial cartoons that can be mis-interpreted to be an outright insult against Islam.”

    Interesting! especially in the Comics & Cartoons section.

  27. Passer by says:

    Why can’t Muslim women in Malaysia enter beauty pageants? Does it say so in the Quran? The prohibition is because clerics declared so and they are limited in their knowledge and interpretation of the religion. After their thoughtful “research and consideration” they see it as immoral and COULD LEAD TO OTHER SINFUL THINGS.

    I put the last six words in caps because I wanted to highlight the words COULD LEAD TO. That’s just it. It is only their opinion and they think they have the right to control our lives based on their understanding of the religion. How sure am I that a man in a skull cap knows what he’s talking about? It COULD ONLY LEAD TO NOT [CONFORM] WILL is the key here. Why do Muslims in Malaysia only see “sex-related” sins? How sure are they that a beauty pageant [contestant] will become a prostitute or that a man and a woman who are not married will have sex if they are left alone together?

    Why can’t these religious [authorities] just see a beautiful woman and say, “Yeah she’s nice, I like looking at a nice beautiful face and body. At least it gives me a nice sensation in my pants and when that happens I have a lesser chance of starting wars and harming others.” To me it appears as though the more religious or perceived to be religious one becomes, the tendency to be more perverse increases meaning that these so-called religious people believe they are easily tempted to sin when they see a bit of skin.

    I can look at a hot sexy woman and do no other harmful or sinful things and furthermore I am not at all religious. Sure I like to look at nice and beautiful women. Who doesn’t? It gives me a nice sensation in my pants and God made all men to like that nice sensation in their pants. If it is such a sin, why did God make it feel nice?

    The scenario is also the same with our khalwat law. It is an offence if a man and a woman who are not married or related to be alone together. This is to prevent them from actually having or even thinking of having illicit sex according to these so-called religious authorities. How sure are the Islamic authorities that a man and a woman left alone will actually perform illicit sex? If there are 10 instances of a man and a woman caught alone together, how many out of the 10 couples will actually have or at least think of having illicit sex?

    Then they say or believe that right-minded people might start to think bad things i.e. having hot steamy sex will happen if they see two people alone together. Then if that is the case punish those people for imagining that a man and a woman will have hot steamy sex when left alone because that is fitnah and fitnah is a huge sin. I was told it is like killing 1,000 innocent lives or something like that.

    Therefore if you think about it, Muslims in Malaysia are by default “fitnah prone” — that’s why we have the khalwat law and other anti-sex laws. The khalwat law is also by default fitnah because it assumes that a man and a woman will have sex if they are allowed to be alone together. So to not allow right-minded people to even fitnah, let’s prevent people from being alone together and prevent Muslim women from entering beauty pageants is how these people think.

    All this while I thought when you become more religious, the lesser is the chance for you to fitnah. However in Malaysia it is the opposite.

  28. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Look people – the Syariah laws are derived from the Quran, Hadith and Ijma (consensus) of the ulama from around the world. Malaysia cannot invent her own version of Islam as it may be rejected by the rest of the Muslim world. Any reform of Islam must first come from a common agreement by the leading ulamas world-wide. So if you seriously want to reform Islam – you have to address your views to the leading ulamas world-wide. You gotta convince them. Making fun of Islam will not lead you anywhere.

  29. Lainie says:


    First of all, there is a difference between being somber, and being serious. A comic may not necessarily be somber in form, but that does not mean it is not serious in content.

    Second of all, @Syed Alwi, no I am not trying to “whack Msia” or “insult Islam”. I’ve been reading some of your comments on this site, and I find you too easily mistake any critical study of political Islam as an insult upon the religion itself.

    I also see you subscribe to a top-down view of reform. Good for you. I prefer to reach the masses, because I don’t believe that reform or communication comes from one direction only.

    (That being said, how do you know an ulama does not read comics?)

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Sorry Lainie. Islam is not a democratic construct. The masses cannot vote for a modification of Islam. Islam is based on the Quran, Hadith, Ijma etc. Not by popular democracy.

      You people are not making a so-called critical study of Islam – you just want to have the freedom to say whatever you like. But again – that’s not possible in a Muslim country like Malaysia.

      In Islam – one cannot satirise religion as that is considered rude by Islamic moral codes. Religion in Islam – is a serious business.

  30. Just another malaysian says:

    I’m not a Muslim, nor am I a Christian. But while I believe that we should all be free to do – or wear – as we wish, [humankind] is by nature bound by the tenets of the Creator.

    So, if God (aka the Creator) mentions specifically in the Holy Books that it is wrong to do or wear etc. etc etc.; who are we to question Him? And following this line of reasoning, since the Quran (which I’ve read in detail) specifies to the Believers to cover their modesty (both men and women) and draw their veils over their bosoms (for women), what’s the debate about whether Muslim women can participate in beauty pageants or otherwise?

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