Heated debate between Syed Saddiq and a Form Four student

Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi

PETALING JAYA: A debate between Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and a Form Four Sekolah Seri Puteri (SSP) student Hasya Atiyah Khairuddin became the highlight in TV3’s Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI) programme this morning.

With the topic ‘Voting age limit at 18 year-old (Had umur mengundi 18 tahun)’, both Syed Saddiq and Hasya Atiyah were given three-minute each to debate.

Syed Saddiq, who delivered his debate in Bahasa Melayu as the government, said youth nowadays at the age of 18 are matured enough to cast their votes.

“Furthermore, at 18 year-old they are also allowed to make decision such as to get married, to sign agreements as well as can be charged at court,” he said.

Hasya Atiyah, who was part of the SSP team that recently won the Prime Minister’s Cup Debate Competition, calmly argued that at the age of 18, many youths still not clear with the impact of government policies. “They are open to exploitation in certain circumstances, in which maybe political parties are desperate in order to gain voters. Furthermore, at such age they can be easily falling for false narrative they seen on social media,” said Hasya Atiyah, who delivered her debate in fluent English as the opposition. After the debate ends, Syed Saddiq praised Hasya Atiyah.

Earlier, Syed Saddiq when interviewed by MHI host Ally Iskandar Mohd Mardzi said he aimed to make debate a culture among the younger generation.

When met after the programme, Syed Saddiq further explained that it is crucial for the younger generation to master debate.

“To me, it is one of the skills that we must master as it will help to build our confidence level. Based on studies conducted by Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) and JobStreet revealed that among the top reasons on unemployment among were related to public speaking; lack of confidence level and English proficiency.

“Our youths must master this so that they will not be leaving behind. It is okay if we are not fluent and general knowledge is quite limited at first. The most important thing is, we must have interest and treat public speaking as a lifestyle of hobby.”

To encourage more youths to take part in debate, a series of debate will be held at universities every month.

Syed Saddiq himself will take part in the inaugural debate that will be held at International Islamic University of Malaysia’s (IIUM) Cultural Centre on Sept 18 at 8pm, followed by a series of debate at other universities.

“We will try with a debate every month and later once a week. The debate will be on current issues, so that it can be guidance for politics and the people to see what is right and wrong.

“It will be an interesting one. We no longer can discuss on hot issues only in the social media or in the parliament. We need more people to also discuss and take note on it; therefore debate is the best platform.”

Sharing on his personal experience, the Muar MP said he, too, started late in debate.

“I first started when I was in Form Four. My English at that time was not good. However, with perseverance, I was able to be at where I am now,” said Syed Saddiq, who had won the Asia Best Speaker award for three times in the Asian British Parliamentary (ABP) Debating Championship. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd