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Speaking Volumes of Success

22 Jul 2019

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KUALA LUMPUR, 8 July 2019 – The second annual edition of the Tunku Abdullah Debate Challenge (TADC) saw 17 schools from across the Klang Valley – and as far away as Sarawak – vying for the trophy. After two days and several rounds of vigorous debate in two age group categories, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) emerged victorious at Under-18 level, and ELC International School crowned champions in the Under-15 category. Topics under discussion included 6 primary themes which include education, sports, technology, economics, the arts and media and societal with the final round motion being This House Believes that Vegetarian Diet Is Healthier for Humans for Under-15 category and This House Believes that Beauty Pageants Are Objectifying Women for Under-18 category.

The presiding judges were highly impressed with the energy and efforts on show from the students, who spoke with maturity and poise beyond their years, displaying a thorough understanding on the subject matter. Y.A.M Tunku Zain Al’ Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, (Founding President of IDEAS - Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs); Y.M. Tunku Halim bin Tunku Abdullah (award-winning fiction and non-fiction author); Y.Bhg. Dato’ Steve Day (Founder & Chief Executive, Vision Four Media Group); YM Datin Dr Hjh Raja Mazuin bte Raja Abdul Aziz (VP, MELTA) and Mr. Tony Collingridge (MD, Delta Gate Solutions) often found it tough to separate the teams – but there can only be one winner for each category, and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) and ELC International School displayed remarkable tenacity in their respective category to take it all the way. Y. M. Tunku Dato’ Dr. Seri Iskandar Tunku Abdullah, Chairman of the TADC, was full of praise for the efforts of all the students: “Congratulations to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) and ELC International School for winning the Under-18 and Under-15 categories respectively. A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. I hope that our debaters today, who will be the leaders of tomorrow, will have this at the forefront of their minds when they lock horns.”

Left Pic L-R: Philip Lim, General Manager of Direct English, Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Advisor, SJIS Board of Governors, Champion of Under-15 category, ELC International School and Mr Suresh Dass, Principal/COO of SJIS. Right Pic L-R: Tony Collingridge, Managing Director of Delta Gate Solutions, Dato’ Steve Day, Managing Director of Vision Four Media Group, Y.A.M Tunku Zain Al’ Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Advisor, SJIS Board of Governors, Y.M Tunku Halim Bin Tunku Abdullah and Dato' Hajah Satinah Syed Saleh, Member of National Education Advisory Council.
Left Pic L-R: Philip Lim, General Manager of Direct English, Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Advisor, SJIS Board of Governors, Champion of Under-15 category, ELC International School and Mr Suresh Dass, Principal/COO of SJIS. Right Pic L-R: Tony Collingridge, Managing Director of Delta Gate Solutions, Dato’ Steve Day, Managing Director of Vision Four Media Group, Y.A.M Tunku Zain Al’ Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar bin Tunku Abdullah, Advisor, SJIS Board of Governors, Y.M Tunku Halim Bin Tunku Abdullah and Dato’ Hajah Satinah Syed Saleh, Member of National Education Advisory Council.


The Tunku Abdullah Debate Challenge is a jointly organised effort by St. John’s International School (SJIS) and Direct English Malaysia, and made its debut in September 2018, with the SJIS team victorious in the Under-18 category. It was established with two primary objectives: to generate critical thinking on primary issues of given topics, and encouraging students in Malaysian schools to express their opinions and to develop public speaking skills, as well to cultivate contemporary thinking skills. It was named to honour the memory of the late Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah, son of Malaysia’s first Yang de-Pertuan Agong. The late Tunku Abdullah was celebrated for his success in the world of e-commerce, development and politics, as well as his generous charitable endowments and philanthropy. The debates follow the Asian Parliamentary format, with two teams of three debaters each proposing and refuting a given motion. The two-day event also includes workshops and seminars to promote learning exchange amongst students, to improve their language and critical thinking skills. Dedication to the debating discipline is sure to stand these bright young students in good stead for the future!

This year’s event was generously sponsored by TELC Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Legoland Malaysia, Mitra Tours & Travel, Johannian Leadership Foundation, K&L-ISC (Southeast Asia) Sdn Bhd, PAC EDU KL Sdn Bhd, Sinaran Interior Sdn Bhd, ISB Enterprise, and Tuan Megat Mizan Nicholas Denny.

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