And The Winner Is…(Not) Malaysia?

Did we just go back in time?

Just a while back, the unique and intricately designed national costume worn by the beautiful 22-year old Miss Universe Malaysia, Shweta Sekhon was announced as the Best National Costume at the 2019 Miss Universe competition…at least we thought it was.

“Here’s a look at the winner, Philippines,”  Steve Harvey, the host of the Miss Universe pageant,  said as a photo of Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados’s outfit was displayed behind him. However, it wasn’t Miss Ganadoz that stood beside him, but our very own Miss Malaysia, Shweta Sekhon.

“It’s not the Philippines, it’s Malaysia,” Shweta said, grabbing the mic from Harvey.

Harvey quickly responded by saying “Okay, well, let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Y’all got to quit doing this to me,”

“This is Malaysia. I really love this national costume of Malaysia. This is crazy.” he added.

Thinking that the management had got it all wrong, local news tabloids were quick to announce Shweta as the winner of the Best National Costume for  the 2019 Miss Universe competition.

But as it turns out, Harvey did announce the correct winner after all.

According to a tweet on the official Miss Universe Twitter account, the management clarified that Harvey had in fact, gotten it right the first time.

The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement to PEOPLE magazine that “As part of the broadcast, we also featured Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon’s national costume. No mistakes regarding the national costume winner were made by him, the prompter or production.”

While the announcement of the winner at the time must be a proud moment for all Malaysians, it is however reminiscent of a previous incident that happened just a few years ago when Harvey announced the wrong winner at the 2015 Miss Universe competition.

Regardless of the mix up, the “Peranakan Indulgence”, Malaysia’s national costume for the 2019 Miss Universe designed by the talented Carven Ong was iconic and deserves praise, too.

and the winner is…(not) malaysia?

Photo: Miss Universe Malaysia Organization

The elaborate dress showcasing the fusion of Malaysia’s rich cultural influences from the Malay, Chinese and Peranakan (Straits-Born Chinese) was beautifully designed with luxurious woven Songket, complete with an assortment of our local kuihs including onde-onde, kuih koci, kuih lapis, and kuih sago. Delicious!

Well done Malaysia and congratulations to the Philippines!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya