Sabah lawyer apologizes for calling beauty pageant ‘an exotic cattle show’

Winners of the 2021 Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant. Photo: Aizad Photography
Winners of the 2021 Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant. Photo: Aizad Photography

A lawyer has apologized for calling an annual beauty contest an “exotic cattle show” in legal documents he submitted to court for the molestation trial of Sabah politician Philip Among. 

Marcel Jude Joseph, who is representing the small-time STAR politician, issued a statement to the media today to apologize for the comment he made about the annual Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant. While he is unable to retract the comment he wrote in documents already submitted to court, Joseph stressed that he never mentions it verbally in the courtroom. 

“I therefore make this sincere apology to all Unduk Ngadaus throughout Malaysia from the beginning of the Unduk Ngadau until the year 2021,” he said in today’s statement, which also circulated on social media. Joseph extended his apology to the pageant’s organizers and contestants, as well as the Kadazan Dusun, Murut and Rungus people of Sabah. 

“As for the withdrawal of the written submission, I regret this cannot be done for the following reasons, which among others that the bail application is res judicata which it had been decided by the court and therefore cannot be revisited again unless if there is an appeal or an intervening application,” he said, adding that the matter cannot be relitigated. 

The apology comes after his court submission sparked an online uproar among mostly women and members of indigenous groups. The controversial submission statement read: 

“The UNK (Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan) contest is not about women, it is just a contest, it doesn’t incorporate all women, whatever their talents and skills and education and abilities but it is nothing more than an exotic cattle show and almost feels like an auction show.”

In his apology, Joseph said that Joanna Kitingan, Unduk Ngadau organizing committee’s chairperson, can verify with the prosecution, reporters, police, and other lawyers that the offensive comment was never said in the courtroom.

Joseph is representing Among, who last week claimed trial to charges he allegedly molested two women, including one who competed in the pageant on May 31. 

Other stories:

Sabah politician accused of molesting beauty contestant claims trial
Police detain Sabah politician accused of molesting beauty contestant

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