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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Association of Beauty Queens Sabah: Empowering Women and Upholding Tradition


21 December 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: In 2019 Kadamaian State Assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick proposed that an association for former Harvest Festival Beauty Queens be established as an official and permanent platform to assist communities in the state. He was then the Minister of Rural Development.


He expressed his belief that they should have an official platform to channel their thoughts and voluntary efforts for the benefit of the community in many matters that should be of common concern to all. Ewon said this in his speech at the State-level Unduk Ngadau Appreciation Ceremony for Sabah Harvest Festival 2019.


This suggestion was followed through, and now Ewon is the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative; the establishment of the Association of Beauty Queen Sabah, better known as Persatuan Unduk Ngadau Sabah (PUNS) has been realised and gone through a milestone in the empowerment of women in Sabah.


Registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) under the Department of Registrar of Societies Malaysia (JPPM) of the Ministry of Home Affairs of Malaysia, on 14th August 2019, the purpose of this association is to gather all women who have participated in the prestigious Unduk Ngadau pageant at every level, fostering unity and providing a platform for growth.


Its Secretary-General, Audrey Wilson Rantau stated that the core objective of the Association is to empower Kadazan-Dusun-Murut-Rungus (KDMR) women to uphold and preserve the rich traditional culture of Sabah. By emphasising the importance of cultural heritage, the association aims to ensure the traditions and customs of the KDMR community remain vibrant and alive for future generations.


According to her, it is also in recognition of the importance of personal development, they seek to provide advisory services and training to its members, enabling them to enhance their self-skills. By offering guidance and support, the association aims to equip its members with the necessary tools to navigate various aspects of life and achieve personal growth.


The Unduk Ngadau pageant holds a special place in Sabah's cultural landscape, and the Association takes pride in organising this prestigious event at all levels, with particular focus on the state level. Through the pageant, the association seeks to celebrate the beauty, grace, and intelligence of Sabah's women while showcasing the diverse cultures and traditions of the state, she said.


“Central to the association's mission is ensuring the rights and welfare of Unduk Ngadau and KDMR women are protected and nurtured to their fullest potential. By advocating for their needs and interests, the Association of Beauty Queen Sabah strives to create an inclusive environment where women can flourish and make significant contributions to society.”


Recognising the importance of collaboration, they aim to enhance strategic cooperation with stakeholders, fostering an effective and comprehensive support system. By working closely with other organisations, they can create a network of support that can address the diverse needs of its members and the community at large.


The office bearers for the Unduk Ngadau Association Sabah 2023-2025 comprise of Chairperson: Ellyanti Panis, Deputy Chairperson: Francisca Ester Nain, Secretary-General: Audrey Wilson Rantau, Assistant Secretary: Leonie Lawrence Gontuni, Treasurer-General: Mandy Nandu, EXCO 1: Aedeshie Daisy, EXCO 2: Hosiani Keewon, EXCO 3: Melinda Louis, EXCO 4: Fharelynne Ivonne Henry, EXCO 5: Gloria Elfira Ewon and EXCO 6: Leydiani Nelson.

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