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Lok Jian Wen
The Straits Times
October 11, 2023
The verdict is out. Miss Asia Pageant Malaysia 2023 winner Luwe Xin Hui gets to keep her crown despite having been called out for being a school bully, leading many to question the decision by Asia Television (ATV), the pageant organiser.
In a statement on Sunday, ATV said Ms Luwe, a Melaka native, was already punished for breaking the rules while she was in secondary school, so she should not be labelled a “bully” for the rest of her life.
The Hong Kong broadcaster added that it did not receive further information from two named whistleblowers, so it could not verify the bullying claims against Ms Luwe. It also said it will ignore those who made unsubstantiated accusations anonymously.
On Monday, Ms Luwe apologised on Instagram to all who had been “hurt or offended” by her actions. The 23-year-old said she had read every comment on her page, and regretted not having treated her then classmates more kindly.
But many Malaysians were not satisfied by her apology, going by comments on ATV’s social media pages.
DJ Der Ting said he was “unconvinced” by her apology and urged ATV to reconsider its decision. Many others said ATV had not acknowledged the “evidence” they submitted, and said the broadcaster should not “protect a bully”.
Ms Luwe was named Miss Asia Malaysia 2023 on Sept 26, winning a RM30,000 (S$8,670) cash prize and an apartment worth RM1.5 million.
Shortly after her moment of glory, thousands of Instagram users flooded her page with comments criticising her for her past actions.
Some recalled how they were called names for their appearance. Others spoke up for classmates whom they said had suffered mental anguish after being allegedly bullied by Ms Luwe.
Many commenters referred to Ms Luwe as “No. 80” or “Sister 80” – “eight zero” is a homonym for “bully” in Mandarin. One likened her to the vicious school bullies portrayed in hit South Korean drama The Glory.
When the allegations initially surfaced, ATV had called for those with information to speak up, promising that all parties would be heard.
It also broadcast a video of Ms Luwe’s public apology to two of her former classmates from Pay Fong Middle School in Melaka.
第34届亚洲小姐马新赛区竞选冠军雷欣蕙遭网暴，指责她在中学时期“霸凌”同学。经过两天沉淀反省，她录制视频，郑重向相关同学道歉，也一一澄清不实指控。 Miss Asia Pageant Malaysia 2023
Posted by ATV News 亚洲电视新闻 on Wednesday, September 27, 2023
In the video, she said she was also a victim of bullying and was ostracised in school. But she dismissed some other accusations made by anonymous commenters.
Ms Luwe, an accounting graduate from Australia’s RMIT University, was also accused of having paid others to complete her college assignments, with some sharing screen grabs of bank transfer receipts as proof.