Netizens outraged after beauty pageant refers to Malaysia as republic

(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysians on social media were outraged by a beauty pageant that referred to their country as the “Republic of Malaysia”, even though Malaysia is not a republic and its official name is simply “Malaysia”.

Miss Crystal Angel International 2019 pageant, which took place on Monday (Nov 4) in Yangon, Myanmar, apparently had two contestants from Malaysia – one dubbed Miss Malaysia, and the other Miss Republic of Malaysia.

The event organisers later apologised and changed all usage of the “Republic of Malaysia” to “Borneo” on its official Facebook page on Tuesday.

“We, from the organisers of the Miss Crystal Angel International organisation of Myanmar 2019 wish to apologise to Malaysians for the mistake of having misused the name of the Republic of Malaysia,” the statement read.

“This mistake did not come from Malaysian participants but it is from our side. Again, we apologise for the misunderstanding.”

A republic is a form of government ruled by the people and their elected officials, and not a hereditary monarch.

Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a federal constitutional monarch. It operates under a rotational monarchy, according to the Constitution, with the head of state chosen from one of the nation’s nine Malay royal families since its independence from Britain in 1957.

The Constitution vests in the monarch the executive power of the federal government, which performs the actual day-to-day work of governing.

Despite the apology on Facebook from the pageant organisers, the organisation continued to receive backlash from Malaysians in the comments section.

“Poor management. Lack of respect due to your “Republic of Malaysia” issue/incident. And you had changed/replaced/substituted it with the BORNEO label? Shame on you with your lower than 3rd class mentality,” said a user by the name Shah Borhan.

Some derided the organiser for not knowing that Borneo is not a country, but an island shared by Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, while others pointed out the sensitivity of the issue, highlighting Malaysians’ loyalty towards their King.

There were also some who took offence at the contestant from the “Republic of Malaysia”.

“I’ve watch the participant introduce herself from republic of Malaysia, that means she mean it about Malaysia (being) a republic country and that’s wrong,” said Mazita Na Mohamad Yusop.

In the profile of the organiser’s official Facebook page, the pageant is supposedly “focused on young women’s strength in empowering their rights and passion in culture, heritage, art, tourism and social media”.

It also explained that the purpose of the pageant is “to make beauty pageants more relevant by providing platforms in these millennial times”.