The Oxbridge Malaysia & KTJ Debate and Workshop 2012

Events - Recent Events

The Society recently organised The Oxbridge Malaysia & KTJ Debate and Workshop 2012 in conjunction with MABECS which was held on Saturday May 19th at Kollej Tuanku Ja'afar. The day began with a Plenary debate between four speakers from the Oxford and Cambridge Society Malaysia.

The KTJ-Oxbridge Debating Forum was the inspiration of Oxbridge alumni Lucy Bailey, Emma Davidson, Mark Disney and Nina Disney. Aimed at giving students from all parts of Malaysia the opportunity to work with Oxbridge alumni, the forum created an avenue for participants to synthesise academic viewpoints on a pertinent issue in Malaysia: Vision 2020.

KTJ chairman Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja'afar started the event by giving the opening speech (pictured below).

KTJ chairman Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja'afarThe event kicked off with a feisty debate between speakers from rival universities: Darina Yusof and Balraj Pannu from the University of Oxford, and Caesar Loong and Andrew Barber from the University of Cambridge on the motion 'This House Believes That Vision 2020 Is Feasible Not Fanciful'.

Team Oxford opened the debate, painting a realistic picture of Malaysia's current economic state, citing statistics which proved that Malaysia was well on track to achieving Vision 2020, despite a strong assortment of figures on the Internet imploring Malaysian citizens to believe otherwise.

Team Cambridge recoiled resiliently from this blow by characterising Vision 2020 more holistically, basing the premise of their arguments not solely on economics but on the social discourses that contextualise Malaysian norms too.

Moderator Mark Disney, with his witty commentary and thought-provoking questions, both lightened the mood yet intensified the intellectual capacity of the debate. What intrigued the audience most, however, was how questions posed by the student audience managed to seize the attention of the Oxbridge speakers. Some of the students even bravely contested the points that the speakers brought to the table.

You can view the image gallery of this event by CLICKING HERE.

For most of the students, the highlight of the day was when they were split into different subject-tailored 'Colleges', where rigorous discussion on various motions about Vision 2020 ensued. The input of all the students was backed up by substantive collations of research along with the guidance of an Oxbridge alumnus per group. This enabled the participants to think critically about their subject choice's role in the execution of Vision 2020. The students debated the following motions:

Motion 1 - Politics: ‘This House believes that Malaysia will have a Two-Party system of government by the year 2020.”

Motion 2 - Economics: “This House believes that Malaysia will be a ‘high income economy’ by the year 2020.”

Motion 3 - Education: “This House believes that the Malaysian education system contradicts the essence of Vision 2020.”

Motion 4 - Race & Religion: “This House believes that race and religion are barriers to achieving Vision 2020.”

Motion 5 - Arts & Culture: “This House believes that Malaysia can become an artistic and cultural hub by 2020.”

After the debates, some debaters described how compelled they were to toss their previous notions about Vision 2020 out of the window and replace them with more calculated and profound approaches towards the vision. The mini debates ran smoothly and quickly, with each leading to the next. There was a palpable hint of tension in the air as the debaters pushed themselves to the limit by listening intently and refuting succinctly in order to win their side of the argument.

Some of the wins were clear, some of the wins were close - but there was no doubt that all of the arguments were impressive. Many resonated well with the theme of Vision 2020 as it was a topic that was close to the heart not just for Malaysians, but for non-Malaysians who have developed a close affinity to this beautiful country as well. As the event drew to a close, many shunned their pessimistic pre-conceived notions on Vision 2020 being a pipe dream.

(Partially reproduced from "The Star" with permission.)