International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) made history on Wednesday, as its debate team was the first Asian team to clinch victory in the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships (Australs).

In the final round of the tournament – which took place in Sydney, Australia – the IIUM team was pitted against the University of Sydney.

The teams were given the motion, “This House believes that feminists should oppose drag culture”, with IIUM edging out their rivals on a 5-4 split.

The winning team comprised of Economics students Mubarrat Wassey, 25; Sara Abdul Rahim, 21; and Law student Ameera Natasha Moore, 23.

Speaking to The Star Online, Ameera, who was also named the best speaker in the finals, said winning the championship felt “surreal”, as the team had overcome opponents from Australia and New Zealand, which have produced some of the world’s best debaters.

“I’m glad that we finally proved that Asian debaters are definitely a force to be reckoned with,” she added.

Just last month, the same team emerged as the top Asian debate team for the second consecutive year at the Asian Debating Championship (UADC) in Bangkok, Thailand, where Mubarrat was also named the best speaker in Asia.

This year’s Australs was hosted by the University of Western Australia in Perth, which saw up to 100 teams from universities across the Asia-Pacific region taking part in the tournament.

Teams debated in the Australia-Asian format rather than the British Parliamentary format, which has members of each team take turns speaking before ending with a reply speech from each team.

Besides IIUM, other Malaysian teams shone during the competition, with Universiti Malaya winning in the English as a Second Language (ESL) category and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) making it to the semi-finals. 

Five of the tournament’s top 10 debaters were also from Malaysian universities, namely IIUM and UiTM.

Image via Instagram.

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