No ban on beauty contests

There is no plan to impose a ban on Muslim women taking part in beauty pageants in Sarawak, said assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman.

"There is no law for the Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) to impose such a ruling although it is against the teachings of Islam," said Daud to reporters yesterday.

Daud said there were also other beauty contests organised in the state that gave importance to traditional aspects like the "Ratu Kebaya" (Kebaya Queen) and Miss World Harvest Festival.

On Friday, Jais had advised five Muslims against taking part in the Miss Borneo Beautiful 2011. However, the five -- Melatie Melisa, 22; Natasha Nur Amarina Mohamad Kaie, 21; Adira Kamil, 23; Sharifah Nadzirah Wan Hamid, 23, and Roszainah Suhaili, 21 -- went on to take part in the contest on Friday night.

Sarawak Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah had on Saturday said that she was surprised by the move as it was the first time that Jais had acted to stop Muslims from taking part in a beauty contest in the state.

She said that she would talk to Jais director Abang Shamsudin Abang Seruji on the matter and wondered if Jais would act the same way in other beauty contests.

Daud said yesterday that the issue with the Miss Borneo Beautiful contest was that it required the contestants to wear skimpy clothing. He also refuted claims that Jais had acted to stop the women from taking part in the Miss Borneo Beautiful contest.

"We gave them a two-hour counselling. We are only carrying out our responsibility to advise them. But at the end of the day, it is their decision. They should know that wearing bikini-like clothes and showing off their aurat is against the teachings of Islam."

He added that Jais received more than 20 complaints from the public who expressed concern over the attire worn by participants.