On September 22nd and 23rd 2018, The Association of Malaysian Economics Undergraduates (AMEU) hosted our inaugural Presidential Debate Competition, the very first of its kind in Malaysia. This competition was established by AMEU with the vision to promote intellectual discourse among the Malaysian youth. This was in line with the new Malaysian Government’s’ beliefs. However, going beyond that, the competition was more than just promoting intellectual discourse. With AMEU’s objective to disseminate Economic thought and its related fields to the vast society, the competition saw the introduction of a new debate format which sought to balance the importance of content & factual backings as well as fluency in presentation thus setting the stage for economic policy to be discussed fruitfully.
With RM 2,300 of pooled cash prize up for grabs, the competition started off with 2 preliminary rounds with 2 different motions being debated.The first round kicked off with a blaze as participants debated on whether the government of Malaysia should guarantee free public university education. Ideas ranged tremendously across the spectrum where some rooms saw a complete split in stances while another room saw almost all the participants agreeing to denounce the motion. The second round then moved on to participants debating on whether the government of Malaysia should impose a price ceiling on housing prices. This round saw a more equal quorum whereby there was almost an equal split in ideologies in each room; some agreed to implement while others offered different solutions to the problem.
The semi-finals went on with 8 participants progressing through. The first round of semi-finals saw 4 debaters engaged in a motion of ‘ASEAN Should Replicate The EU’, which was denounced by 3 participants. The second round of semi-finals saw the remaining 4 semi-finalists debate on the motion “The Malaysian Government Should Establish State-owned Renewable Energy Companies In Order To Grow The Industry”. This debate was focused heavily on the idea of Government-Linked Company whereby the split in quorum represented whether the participants wanted more or less presence of GLCs. Once again it is an unequivocally engaging round.
The showdown of the top 4 debaters for this year’s AMEU Presidential Debate Competition saw the motion ‘The Malaysian Government Should Pursue A Third National Car Project’ being brought to the floor. This time the debaters were faced with one extra challenge- to convince the nation’s very own policy makers and experts. The finals drew crowds graced by the presence of our prominent final round judges, YB Dr Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry as well as YAM Tunku Zain Al – ‘Abidin, Prince of Negeri Sembilan and President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and of course the Chairman of the Malaysian Institute for Debating and Public Speaking, Dr Chandran. The debate saw 3 of the 4 debaters disagreeing with the idea of the 3rd national car, all of whom presented reasons which reflected very differing opinions.
As the curtains drew a close to the nation’s first Presidential Debate Competition, AMEU and the organizing committees would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to the winner of the competition, Framjee Hathy of Monash University Malaysia. We would also like to credit Sukhdev Singh Malhi Darshan Singh of London School of Economics for taking home 2nd place, Lim Tai Jie of Monash University Malaysia for 3rd place and Amir Anuar Batcha of Monash University Malaysia for 4th place. This had been a pleasing final round for all to spectate and indeed a tough decision for the judges to decide themselves for the rankings.
The competition attracted participants from various backgrounds across local and foreign universities. To our surprise, some of the debaters were not even of Economics or Social Science background, yet managed to perform beyond expectations. AMEU congratulates all participants who chose to take the courage and battle their ideas on the multiple rounds in this challenge. No matter what position you achieved, each of you had contributed your ideas toward nation building and showed the importance of youth participation in public policy discourse.
With that, The Association of Malaysian Economics Undergraduates sends its sincerest appreciation to YB Dr Ong Kian Ming, YAM Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin, Dr Chandran, Lawrence Todd, Mubarrat Wassey, Mifzal Mohammed and to all the student judges and moderators for taking the time off their busy schedules to adjudicate the first edition of the AMEU Presidential Debate Competition. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude towards Monash University Student Association (MUSA), Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) and the Malaysian Institute for Debating and Public Speaking (MIDP) as our supporting partners throughout the competition. Not to forget our strategic partners, Education Office of the School of Business along with Global Asia in the 21st Century (GA21) of Monash University Malaysia, and the co-sponsor of the event, OCBC Bank Malaysia. The success of this event would not have been possible without their enthusiastic support and advice.
Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the AMEU Presidential Debate Competition 2018. Stay tuned for next year’s edition!
Muhammad Aneeq Aiyman Bin Roslan
Wan Amanda binti Wan Ahmad Azmi
Mandeep Singh A/L Manjit Singh
Photos by Ryan Wee and Nalau Nobel