Monday, April 1, 2019

Malaysia Blown Away (3rd AIAC-ICC Vis Pre-Moot 2019)

Dato' Mary Lim (Court of Appeal Judge) sums up the recent Malaysian Vis Pre-Moot 2019 best: "Malaysian lawyers, beware!"

Such was her frank qualitative assessment of the Final Round fought fiercely between two teams from India in which she co-arbitrated.

And had she known what transpired during the rounds prior to the climax, she would've reached to a similar quantitative conclusion - with perhaps even more caustic, critical words.

The facts and figures don't lie:
  • 90+ teams from 30+ countries participated in the Pre-Moot
  • Out of 37 Malaysian teams, only 5 teams finished in the Top 32 of the Preliminary Rounds
  • No Malaysian team entered the Top 16 (11 teams from India, 1 team each from Romania, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands)

Utter decimation. Epic failure. Crushing defeat.

Malaysia Boleh?

More like Malaysia Blown Away...


* * *

I was an arbitrator for 6 Preliminary Rounds.

So I had ample opportunity to witness the foreign teams in action - India, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand, Japan and Hong Kong.

And they were truly impressive. In fact, I actually scored most of them higher than their Malaysian opponents.

Their law was solid. Their arguments were sharper.

The only aspect where Malaysian mooters were on par with - or at times, slightly edged over - the foreign teams was in style. We had bombast. We kept calm and composed. We were full of flair.

Otherwise, all things considered, we were inferior to the top foreign teams.

The typical survival rate of Malaysians in international moots

* * *

Looking deeper, such underwhelming results is understandable.

Malaysian teams have historically not been active participants of the Vis Moot, whether at Vienna or Hong Kong. The stronger teams lean towards Jessup, LAWASIA or IHL.

Most of the foreign teams in the Pre-Moot are actually warming up before they go to Vienna or Hong Kong. In contrast, majority of the Malaysian teams consist of novices trying out the Pre-Moot simply for experience.

Still, being blown away on our home soil is quite a blow to our national pride.

And whilst the Indian teams are truly a level above all others, we were also struggling against our other Asian neighbours. It could well be that other countries are catching up fast, whilst our we have rested on our laurels and stagnated - if not even regressed.

Whatever the reason, let this decimation be a wake-up call to Malaysian mooters.

Does Malaysia even have an end-game?

* * *

There's immense potential in the Malaysian mooters of whom I witnessed. And they truly have the drive to improve their skills, compete with the best in the world, and truly kick ass.

Sadly, most of them lack the proper training, guidance and direction.

It is rather ironic - if not prescient - that barely a week ago in my last post, I had urged Malaysian judges, lawyers and lecturers to change our old habits.

Or to put it bluntly: we need to focus more on substance over style in mooting and legal practice.

The facts and figures don't lie.

No Malaysian team in the Top 16 of the Malaysian Vis Pre-Moot 2019.

Malaysia got blown away.

Malaysian lawyers, beware!

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