PETALING JAYA – Indonesians have accused Malaysia of ripping off its Kuda Kepang design and passing it off as one of Malaysia’s national costumes.
The debate over the costume was sparked by Malaysia’s Kuda Warisan costume to be worn by Miss Grand Malaysia 2017, Sanjeda John, at the annual Miss Grand International pageant in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, from Oct 5 to 25.
Kuda Warisan or Kuda Kepang is also known as Kuda Lumping by the Javanese community.
Many Indonesians have expressed their dissatisfaction on the social media accounts of Miss Grand Malaysia and Sanjeda John.
“Even though the Indonesians migrated to Malaysia, it doesn’t mean that their culture has also moved into the country. You can learn our culture, but you shouldn’t claim it as your own,” said an Indonesian commenter.
The beauty pageant organiser acknowledged that the costume was inspired by the Javanese community in Johor, but the Indonesians are unhappy that their culture was chosen to represent another country.
“We took this bold step to portray our country’s unique and diverse culture and heritage due to its historical landscape. It is all about celebrating diversity and educating resemblance due to the unique history we share especially in this region,” said Jude Benjamin Lisa, the National Director of the Miss Grand Malaysia Organisation.
The costume, which was designed by Hana Yaakob, was chosen from more than 50 entries from designers in Malaysia.
The Kuda Warisan national costume will vie with 80 other national costumes from all over the world for the Best in National Costume which includes an award and US$1,000 (RM4,225) cash from the Miss Grand International Organisation.