The Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has asked five Muslim contestants in the ongoing Miss Borneo Beautiful 2011 to pull out from the pageant finals.
The advice was given in a counselling session for the five women at the Jais premises yesterday.
The five -- Melatie Melissa, 22, Natasha Nur Amarina Mohamad Kaie, 21, Adira Kamil, 23, Sharifah Nadzirah Wan Hamid, 23, and Roszainah Suhaili, 21 -- sat through two hours of counselling.
Present were president of Majlis Islam Sarawak Datuk Putit Mat Zen, Jais director Abang Shamsudin Abang Seruji and Sarawak mufti Kipli Yassin.
Abang Shamsudin said the department had received several public complaints.
"The syariah dictates that beauty pageants are illegal. Their parents should be aware of this."
He added that Jais had proof that the five had exposed their aurat ( intimate parts of the body that have to be covered).
Abang Shamsudin said Jais, however, would not stop the organiser, Alaric's Production Company, from continuing with the event as there were 13 others who were non-Muslims.
One of the participants, Adira from here, said apart from granting their request not to wear swimsuits, they were treated well by the organiser, Alaric Soh.
"Most of the outfits we wear in this contest are ordinary. Alaric has told us it is not overly sexy and there's definitely no swimsuit."
The accounting student also said that her family and friends strongly supported her.
Meanwhile, Soh said: "I have been organising beauty pageants for 32 years, and Miss Borneo Beautiful since 2009. This is the first time we have been called up by the department.
"The participation of the Muslims is suddenly becoming an issue now, although we had no problems in the past. I will not force the girls to pull out or drop them from the pageant."