'It's not Philippines, it's Malaysia': Mix-up in naming Miss Universe national costume winner

In this year's edition, Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon stole the show with her national costume that weighed more than 27kg. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, MISS UNIVERSE MALAYSIA/INSTAGRAM

Host Steve Harvey has stumbled again at the Miss Universe pageant.

On Sunday (Dec 8), the mistake cropped up at the best national costume stage when a photo of Miss Philippines was flashed on the screen.

Harvey then told the audience: "This is it right here", gesturing to the contestant beside him. But she was not Miss Philippines.

The woman next to him was Miss Malaysia.

"It's not Philippines, it's Malaysia," Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon, 22, had to tell him firmly.

Harvey recovered, blaming the mix-up on what he had read off a teleprompter.

Still, viewers wondered why he had not noticed that the costume shown in the photo flashed earlier was different from that worn by the woman beside him.

In 2015, he also caused confusion when he hosted the pageant.

Then, he named Miss Colombia as Miss Universe, only to clarify later that Miss Philippines was the winner.

"I have to apologise," he said then before taking a long pause. "The first runner-up is Colombia ... Miss Philippines, take your first walk as Miss Universe."

On Sunday in Atlanta, when Miss Colombia was named among the semi-finalists for the Miss Universe title, she jokingly asked him if he was sure.

In this year's edition, Miss Malaysia stole the show with her national costume that weighed more than 27kg.

It came with tables of food such as cakes, desserts and even red eggs.

The costume, designed by Carven Ong, is called A Peranakan Indulgence.

One of Ong's creations was also used in blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians.

Asked to elaborate on her costume that got the nod from online voters, Miss Malaysia told the audience that it represented a state in Malaysia called Malacca.

Harvey congratulated her again for the victory, drawing laughs when he said "I'm scared to call your name again", wary about another teleprompter mistake.

The triumph will silence some people who had described the costume as over the top.

In an interview with the New Straits Times before the pageant, Miss Malaysia said: "When we see other countries, such as Venezuela, Mexico or the Philippines, they always shine in the national costume segment.

"I hope to make a difference and if this is going to place me in the top 16, why not?"

"Miss Universe is all about thinking out of the box," added the beauty who wants to further her studies in communication. "One day, I can tell my kids that your mummy carried food and (took part in) Miss Universe."

This year's Miss Universe crown went to South Africa contestant Zozibini Tunzi, 26.

Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, is crowned Miss Universe by her predecessor, Catriona Gray of the Philippines, at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant in Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec 8, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

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