The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) will collaborate with the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) to organise open debates in the English language as an avenue to discuss the country's hot topics.

PUTRAJAYA: The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) will collaborate with the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) to organise open debates in English as an avenue to discuss the country's hot topics.

Its minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who is also an IIUM alumnus, said the debate is aimed at instilling a culture of critical thinking, improve the quality of English amongst students as well as encourage open discourse on sensitive issues.

"University students have always been discouraged from discussing sensitive issues. They are also refrained from discussing important public issues in public forums.

"We have shied away from the debating culture far too long. The youth, as future leaders of the country, should have a role in shaping public discourse," he added.

According to him, the debate series will be held monthly in which two senior speakers and two junior speakers would be selected online.

He informed that those interested could send in a three-minute video on the selected topic.

"This debate is the same as the ones organised by universities overseas where they have debates every Thursday night. Students at these universities are free to discuss various issues," he told reporters at a press conference, here, today.

He said that they hoped IIUM can serve as a stepping stone to the debate series and other universities will follow suit.

The debate series called 'Youth Engaged' would be launched on Sept 18 by IIUM Rector Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.

For starters, the inaugural debate will see Syed Saddiq and RHB Group's Chief Finance Officer Syed Ahmad Taufik Albar participating for the topic 'Repealing the Anti Fake News Act is a mistake'.

The debate series would take place at IIUM Gombak's cultural centre on Sept 18 at 8pm.

On the topic for the first debate, Syed Saddiq said this was timely.

"This is timely because the Senate has 'backstabbed' us by not allowing the repeal of this Act.

"Next week we will debate on this further," he told reporters after the soft launch fo the debate series earlier.