As professionalism, ethics and personal development is one of the components of the 8 learning outcome domains of International Medical University (IMU), an intercampus debate about bioethics is organised biannually by the final semester medical students in order to facilitate discussions regarding ethical issues in an interactive way. This year, the long-awaited debate was organised by the students of IMU Batu Pahat Clinical School, putting the focus on the theme – Environmental Health Protection and Sustainable Development. The theme was selected in accordance with the bioethics core curriculum by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We were mainly engaged in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, Article 17 – Protection of the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity, with emphasis on the importance of appropriate access and utilisation of biological and genetic resources, respect for traditional knowledge and the role of human beings in the protection of the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. The event was carried out on 1 June 2016 at the IMU Batu Pahat Clinical School, under the guidance of the Advisor, Prof Dato’ Dr Sivalingam Nalliah and Chairperson, Dr Hussein Akl.
The event commenced at 9 am with an insightful opening speech by Dr Hussein Akl, who was happy that this event was organised by fellow students. This was followed by the first debate with three representatives from each clinical school, Goh Yew Yip, Lim Sean Yee and Shereen Kaur Manocha from IMU Batu Pahat Clinical School defending the motion and Chan Yi Min, Moo Yong Hoong Foong and Valerie Chew Sze Yen of IMU Kluang Clinical School taking the opposition stand. The motion was This House Believes That Developed Countries Have a Higher Obligation to Combat Climate Change as Compared to Developing Countries.
It only took a short time for the debate to escalate into an impressive exchange of points of information and statements supported with facts and fundaments of climate change. The well-fought battle was followed by feedback from the judges, A/Prof Ramji Narayanan and Dr Vijayaraghavan Ramanathan which saw IMU Batu Pahat Clinical School government team emerging as the eventual winners.
The second debate saw students from IMU Kluang Clinical School, Eve Ng York Hang, Heng Hian Ee and Reena Priya Ramasamy pushing support for the motion This House Regrets Parents Who Opt for Designer Babies. Another three remarkable speakers from IMU Batu Pahat Clinical School, Lai Zhi Jun, Nirmal A/L Sukumaran and Syed Ameer bin Syed Azman, formed the opposition team. It was a witty and intense contest which left the audience thoroughly amused. The judges, Prof Mohamed Rifdy Mohideen and Dr Hussein Akl admitted that it was a challenging decision but the triumph eventually went to IMU Kluang Clinical School. Following the thought-provoking debates, Mr Zuhairi bin Said, from the Johor Department of Environment gave an enlightening speech on Environmental Quality Act 1974, which highlighted the importance of the law, authorities as well as public in protecting our Mother Nature. In addition to that, a booth supplemented with leaflets and educational displays was set up at the venue to raise awareness in environmental conservation in Malaysia. Furthermore, members of the audience were not left out of the fun as they actively engaged in an interactive multiplayer classroom quizzes generated with ©Quizizz, which assessed their general knowledge in relation to our theme in an intriguing approach, using their mobile devices. Prizes were given to all the speakers who took part in the event. The closing speech was delivered by Dr Hussein Akl and Prof Lum Siew Kheong, congratulating all the speakers for their notable performance. Chairperson, Dr Hussein Akl expressed his gratitude to all staff who attended the event, student organisers and Johor Department of Environment for making the event a success. This article is written by Khoo Hui Ping, IMU Medical Ethics and Environment Debate Student Coordinator Related articles: A Lively and Informative Debate Among IMU Medical Students