02 July 2010


In inter-school parliamentary debate competition, it is very interesting to see the debaters are more well-mannered, civilized and brilliant then our politicians in the Parliament of Malaysia. It is an excellent activity for the students to generate ideas and give their views on issues that matter in a very systematic way. A big credit should go to Ministry of Education for providing platforms for students to develop their thinking and communication skills. It is very often to see that the debates are fiery and filled with cynical anecdotes from both sides of the tables.

Unfortunately, in the Parliament itself, the politicians are debating about how the Prime Minister got his ideas of 1Malaysia from an Israeli-based company. Well, I think it is a big matter for the politicians to discuss that particular issues because they drive BMWs and have castle-like bungalows! The Rakyat will never care about those superficial matters. Subsidies, economics reform, education and social integration are all the things that matter to us.

It is a fact that the government and opposition will never work well together. However, politicians hold the people’s trusts to do their best from them. What the politicians need to do is to learn from the secondary school debaters who I think are among the best in the world. This is proven to be true when I moved from Government secondary school to an international British school where the top debaters are still among us. They even manage to grab international judges’ attentions even though they do not have the British accent and still able to secure a place in the top 10 debate team in the world.

These are the things the Government can learn from us; ways to outline definitions and issues concisely, facts based on statistics and reasoning behind their stands. Idris Jala is the best example any public speakers can give for politicians to make as role-model. Maybe Ibrahim Ali can learn from him on how to conduct debates and issues to be more convincing. He outlines his cases based on numbers and facts, with logical reasoning and most importantly, the public can digest his views. It is unlikely in Parliament where the Government always see it as an arena to shut the Oppositions’ mouths up with stupid remarks.

As for the Opposition, what they can learn from us? First, ways to handle issues systematically. Second, methods to criticize the Government in cleverer ways and third, alternatives to the issues concerned. Many art of debating can be shown by the Opposition if they know how to use it. Raise criticism based on facts and cases from around the world. What we want to see also is that the Opposition could provide alternatives to the issues concerned. From there, you can win the argument and show how capable you are to form a new Government. However, it is discouraging to see one of the lawyers in the Parliament to act like a monkey when presenting argument.

For both sides of the tables, please work on your debating skills. Improve your language ability, communication skills and mannerism. Humors are always welcomed, but never go too far. Be world-class speakers who raise their issues in very convincing ways. It is never too late to learn from us, the younger generation. When we see all of you speak in the Parliament, we always correct your grammar (Malay definition: tatabahasa), criticize your manner and say how stupid your arguments are. This is a pledge from a debater, please do learn more, do make research and do speak like Barack Obama!

As Rakyat, we have the right to see you fulfill our wants. Mannerism in the Parliament is one of them.

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