PETALING JAYA: The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has been crowned Asian debate champions for the second year running.
The team of three debaters from the university won the coveted title at the grand finals of the 7th United Asian Debating Championship (UADC) in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday evening.
It was a double joy for IIUM as one of their debaters, Mubarrat Wassey, was ranked best speaker in Asia.
This is also the second consecutive time an IIUM student has held that honour.
The team from IIUM consists of Economics students Mubarrat, 25, Sara Abdul Rahim, 21, and law student Ameera Natasha Moore, 23.
Mubarrat and Sara are international students from Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively, but debate for Malaysia under their university banner. Their teammate, Ameera, is a proud KLite.
The tournament saw an all-Malaysian finals, where IIUM and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) faced off for the UADC trophy.
The UADC is Asiaâ€™s largest and most prestigious tournament. It runs in the Asian Parliamentary format, which pitches teams of three against each other. It also provides the definitive annual ranking for debaters in the continent after eight preliminary rounds.
In the finals, the two teams debated the motion: “As a prominent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), this House would not, and will actively encourage others to not invest in countries with low civil society index scores.”
Teams were only given 30 minutes to prepare after the motion was revealed, and are not allowed to receive outside assistance or access to electronic aid.
Uitm was represented by law students Muayyad Khairulmaini, Jasmine Ho Abdullah and Mohammed Mifzal Mohd Murshid Kieron, all 23.
The UADC, held from May 31 to June 6 at Thailand’s Assumption University, saw 84 teams and a total of 252 debaters from across the region taking part.
IIUM were champions of last year’s UADC held at Universitas Udayana in Bali, Indonesia. The tournament in Bali also saw IIUM and UiTM going against one another at the finals.
This is the third consecutive year a speaker representing Malaysia has won UADC’s Asia’s Overall Best Speaker award. In 2015 it went to IIUM’s Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and in 2014 to UiTM’s Maizura Mokhsein.
A clear trend is that Malaysia has been producing formidable orators in the Asian debating circuit.
Over the years, Malaysia has remained among the top three debating countries constantly battling for the top spot against other Asian powerhouses, namely Singapore and the Philippines.