The HELP A-team has emerged as champion of the HEP-IPTS Debate Tournament. They beat the team from Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation during the finals.
The HELP team comprising Mithrun Swaminathan, Alexandria Chew and Kenneth Foo walked home with RM 6,000 in cash prizes, a trophy a gold medal each and book vouchers worth RM 600.
Mithrun took home the most coveted Best Speaker award for the Grand Finals with RM 500 cash, a gold medal and a book voucher worth RM 200.
Organised by the International Medical University of Kuala Lumpur together with HEP-IPTS (Majilis Hal-Ehwal-Pelajar-Institut Pengajian Tinggi Swasta) (HEP-IPTS), the competition brought together 75 debaters represented by 25 teams from various private universities across the nation.
The HELP A-team was supported strongly by their trainer and also close friend, Zim Ahmadi.
Datin Paduka Ir. Siti Hamisah binti Tapsir, Director-General, MOHE, was also present at the finals,
“The ministry is proud to note that our student debaters have been winning competitions both in the local and international arena,” she said.
Of the three of them, Mithrun’s career as a debater began when he was 17, at SMK Bukit Bandaraya, where he formally trained as a debater. According to Mithrun, while he was there, there were three trainers, who conducted regular weekly meetings and were amazing in their debate training of the upper secondary school students, including himself.
Currently Mithrun is completing his Law degree at HELP University and hopes to pursue his dream of being an advocate and solicitor, while actively participating as a debater in competitions.
Mithrun said their next challenge is for all three to take part in the United Asian Debating Championship to be held in Cambodia this year.
Alexandria who is currently completing her Foundation in Arts at HELP only took up debating seriously in the last two years and hopes to eventually pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. While pursuing her upper secondary education at a local convent secondary school in KL, Alex felt debating tested her oratorical skills and general knowledge and every debate was an adrenalin rush, which she enjoyed tremendously. So it was no surprise that Alex joined the HELP Debate Club where she met Mithrun and Kenneth and together they forged a formidable team.
Kenneth, is pursuing his A-levels in HELP, choosing subjects such as Law, English Literature, Economics, and Mathematics. With five years’ experience, Kenneth is no novice to debate and enjoyed his first win in 2014. Kenneth, an avid reader, started debating in Form 3, as he found debating tested his skills and knowledge from all the books that he has read.
According to his team mates, Kenneth’s formidable general knowledge was an asset and many a time had been instrumental in the team’s winning arguments in their debate competitions.
Zim, who enjoys a special relationship with all three debaters of the HELP A-team, is himself a great debater, having been in the field for the last 8 years. He was an avid debater in secondary school, where he won many debate tournaments. Whilst studying for his degree in Law at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) he continued participating in debate tournaments and competitions. With many wins under his cap, Zim was much sought after as a trainer in IIIUM, with as many as 20 juniors under him in one semester.
The team’s trainer, Zim believes that to be a good debater, students need to hone their persuasive skills, be well-versed in world events and their impact, philosophy and be confident.
During the training, the debaters were required to simulate their strategies and form arguments while building up their improvisation and strategy as well as their their ability to think on their feet.