Sikh lady dons turban at Malaysian plus-size pageant, emerges winner

Melissa Mohan Tyndall, a private hospital marketing head, emerges winner of Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020

Melnisha (left) fixing Melissa’s hair before stepping on stage at Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 finals, donning the lehenga and turban – Photo: Supplied
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

A proud Sikh lady from a mixed parentage emerged as the winner of a recent Malaysian plus-size pageant.

Melissa Mohan Tyndall donned a lehenga and a turban at the final round of the Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 (MPWM 2020) on Jan 2.

It looks like it must have done the trick, or at least helped, to propel the private hospital marketing head as the overall winner of Malaysia’s first international beauty pageant for plus sized women.

Next, she will be getting ready to represent Malaysia at the international level of the competition expected to take place in Texas, US, later this year.

“The highlight of my pageant journey is the lehenga and turban I chose to wear to represent my Sikh background,” she told Asia Samachar.

The pageant adventure began with an audition in August 2020.

The 31-year old Melissa is the sales and marketing head at Pantai Hospital Manjung in Perak.

“In my professional career, I advocate the importance of early detection of breast cancer. I have been running breast cancer awareness campaigns for four consecutive years. In 2020, the campaign was supported by the pageant and the finalists travelled from all over Malaysia to attend my campaign,” she said.

Melissa’s parents are retired army captain Dr C Mohan Singh and homemaker Shu Chong Hwa. She has three other siblings.

“My dad served as a medical doctor while in military service. He is also the president of Gurdwara Sahib Sitiawan. He has been serving as President since 2006. My mother is a Chinese lady who fully embraces the Sikh way of life,” she said.

The plus-size pageant attracted controversy when an Islamic organisation urged the Malaysian government to cancel the pageant on the grounds that it was “hedonistic” and allegedly “exploits women”. An Islamic-based political party had also joined the bandwagon.

However, the organiser responded that the competition was aimed at creating awareness and empowering women. At the same time, the pageant had dropped activities like donning swimwear, but instead focused on celebrating, promoting and elevating plus-size women’s beauty, intelligence and confidence, according to media reports.

The pageant was open to natural-born females with size 12 and above or hip measurement of 40 inches or larger. Applicants must also be between the ages of 20 and 35 for Miss Plus World Malaysia and 36 onwards for Mrs Plus World Malaysia.

The other winners for MPWM 2020 were Shakti Chhabra as Miss Plus Intercontinental 2020 and Jastina Mohd Junus as Miss Plus World Humanitarian Ambassador.

When asked how she felt taking part winning, Melissa said: “First, it was surreal that the judges and sponsors picked me as I have no background or experience in the fashion industry. When my name was called, there was a mixed reaction of shock and happiness.”


Melissa dons lehenga and turban for the final round of Miss Plus World Malaysia 2020 on 2 Jan 2021 – Photo: Supplied

Veena Praveenar shines once again at Miss Universe Thailand (Asia Samachar, 12 Oct 2020)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. hardeep get a life. lets celebrate diversity. life is too short to dampen another’s spirit. may the grace of chard kala light your way forward. waheguru

  2. You go, girl. Ignore the denigrators. May you continue to be inspired by Sikhi and the teachings of the Guru.

  3. So it’s a big deal that u have to advertised n post …
    turban to you must be a cheap cloth that could be worn in this unsikhi related event 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡isint is to the fullest