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Young Speakers Shine at Speech Competition



It was indeed a breath of fresh air for all growing weary of the constant barrage of comments regarding the poor command of English amongst Malaysian young people on the 8th of December 2015 when a group of 16 young law students from 5 different institutions participated in the Human Rights Speech Competition 2015 and blew the audience away with their flair for speaking and command of the language. The competition was organized by PROHAM (Society for the Promotion of Human Rights) in collaboration with Brickfields Asia College (BAC). It was held in conjunction with the 2015 Human Rights Week organized by the United Nations, Suhakam, The Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), the Bar Council of Malaysia and PROHAM.

The speakers expounded extensively on the topic for the day which was “Sustainable Development and Human Rights : Can one exist without the other”. Representatives from University Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Multimedia University (MMU), Advance Tertiary College (ATC) and Brickfields Asia College (BAC) were adjudicated on their style of speaking as well as their content by prominent judges experienced in the field of Human Rights and public speaking.

The preliminary round started at 2.30pm with a welcome speech by Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria of PROHAM. The judges for the preliminaries were Mr. Silva Vellu, Senior Advocate & Solicitor, Me. Edwin Rajasooriya, Senior Advocate & Solicitor and Dr. Khoo Ying Hoi of UM who specializes in the area of Human Rights. All the speakers showed creativity and originality of thought in their speeches and the depth of content evidenced the amount of research that would have been conducted. It was truly inspiring. The judges had a tough task to choose the best speakers for the finals but they manage to whittle the group down to 6 outstanding speakers to speak at the finals at 7.30pm the same day.

The finals were judged by a panel of outstanding persons led by retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shanker and Dr. Lin Mui Kiang, the United Nations Coordination Specialist with UN Malaysia. The judges once again faced the daunting task of selecting the best among the group of exceptional speakers and as difficult as the task was they were up to it.

Mr. Chai Duwei of UM emerged as the winner overall receiving a certificate and a cash prize of RM 1000. Coming in a close second was Mr. Caleb Goh Herb Ee who won himself a certificate and RM 500 in cash. Ms. Evangelin Simon of UM was third and walked away with a certificate and a cash prize of RM 250. It was a sweet victory for Mr. Chai as it was his second time participating in this competition and he did not win last year.

Datuk Denison, expressed his gratitude to Mr. Raja Singham, the Managing Director of BAC for kindly acting as host for the competition and sponsoring the cash prizes, food and other miscellany that made the competition a success. He was also glad that through competitions like this and other PROHAM events the young people of Malaysia will slowly develop an understanding and love for Human Rights and will defend it in whatever way they can.