About this segment: Alumnus of the Month is an initiative by the University of Malaya Law Review which aims to feature a prominent member of the University of Malaya’s Law Faculty towards the end of each month. The purpose of this segment is twofold. Firstly
, to give due recognition to the contributions of our student leaders and secondly, so that their achievements might inspire other members of the faculty towards greater success.
Hanan Khaleeda, an alumnus from the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya
Hanan Khaleeda binti Fadzil, or better known as Hanan, is an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. An outspoken and confident character, Hanan’s numerous moot, debate and leadership accolades are hallmarks of her four illustrious years in law school. Amongst others, she participated in the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot Competition 2017 as well as the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition 2018. Hanan was also the Editor-in-Chief of the 2017/2018 Executive Board of the University of Malaya Law Review. At present, Hanan oversees the 2018/2019 Executive Board and is due to graduate in October 2019.
Hanan identifies herself as a utilitarian and believes that society is most efficient when impractical doctrines are set aside. She is a huge advocate of LGBT rights and is against gender roles. Hanan is known to be very practical and disciplined amongst her colleagues.
When asked why the decision to pursue law, Hanan reveals that initially, coming from a family of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors, she was always encouraged to pursue a career in the medical field. After completing her secondary school, Hanan was awarded a scholarship for a preparatory programme of a medical school in India. It was within the few weeks into the programme that Hanan discovered she simply could not stand the scent of hospitals but,
“I believe deep down I didn’t really want to go down that path and that was just my body reacting with red flags. I spoke to my mother and opted for a course that was closest to the set of skills that I had at that point in time. I was a debater with a high appreciation of law and order so, I decided to read law.”
Hanan elucidates that surprisingly, for someone who had been preparing for medical school her whole life, she enjoyed law school from the get-go.
In secondary school, Hanan saw debate as a platform to test her ability in articulating knowledge she possessed. Hanan elaborates that debate moulded her into a critical thinker. It sharpened her ability to contextualise an argument as it pushes her to see the bigger picture of ideas while mentally structuring her points in a logical manner. Hanan’s excellent debating skills shone through when she was in University of Malaya’s Debate Club. During her time in the club, Hanan emerged as a quarter-finalist in both the 2015 UT MARA Novice Debate Competition and the 2015 Debate Nationals. In 2016, Hanan bagged the Top 4 Best Speaker award in the APU Novice Debate Competition.
Naturally, Hanan transitioned to mooting out of curiosity because it was new to her and appeared to be more legal-oriented. Hanan’s first exposure to moot was the Internal Moot Competition 2015. Despite being new to moot, her team won the Best Memorial award. In the following year, she participated in the 2016 edition of the inaugural Competition Law Moot Competition during which Hanan got her first taste of victory. Her team was crowned Champion of the competition.
Hanan (far left), and her teammates pose for the winning shot at the First Moot Court Competition on Competition Law 2016 which was organised by the Malaysia Competition Commission.
After gaining momentum from her previous mooting endeavours, Hanan once again took part in the Faculty’s annual Internal Moot Competition in 2017 and became a semi-finalist. In the same year, she signed up for the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot Competition 2017. Her team qualified for the international rounds and represented the Faculty in the United Kingdom.
Hanan (far left), with her teammates during the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot Competition 2017 which was held at the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, United Kingdom.
Showcasing persistence and perseverance, Hanan tried out and was selected for the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition in 2017. Hanan and her team emerged as semi-finalists during the National rounds.
“I suffered an incredibly awful loss in Jessup 2018. The team consisted of strong speakers on almost equal footing and our preparation was out-and-out but, it was not enough.”
Hanan (third, from right) with her teammates and coaches; Mr Manley and Mr Raphael Kok (at both ends of the line respectively) at the Phillip C. Jessup Moot Competition 2018, National Rounds which was held at the National University of Malaysia (UKM).
Even so, Hanan still pushed herself to try out for one more moot competition that year albeit having felt down about the Jessup performance. The final competition to wrap up her moot journey was the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition 2018. In fact, two of her former teammates from the Phillip C. Jessup Moot were part of the team. This time around, Hanan and her teammates powered through the competition and succeeded in getting ranked 2nd in Asia!
Hanan (centre) with her teammates and coach during Asia Cup 2018 which was held in Tokyo, Japan.
Hanan divulges that she does not prefer debate over moot or vice versa.
“Both are equally important. The idea that debaters are less competent in making legal arguments is a myth because debaters learn the foundation of persuasive argumentation from debate and gain legal knowledge and skills from law school. The only difference is that mooters are gaining both through mooting.”
Hanan lists out three important lessons that she has learnt from both debate and moot and they are – first, one’s mental health does not invalidate one’s success.
“My panic attack does not make me less of a refined mooter. My anxiety does not make me less of a driven leader. I hope those with mental health issues wanting to join moot and take up leadership roles will realise that the problems may not go away even after they are more experienced but, they can get through it... It’s not about overcoming it, it’s about managing it and keeping it at bay.”
Second, individual actions have collective consequences. Hanan explains that when working in a team, one’s complacency will bring down even the most prepared and hardworking team. Third, change does not come organically from the hours put into practice. Hanan opines that change comes from an active effort to experiment and improve in every single practice.
Aside from debate and moot, Hanan has been extensively involved with VOX Malaya which was a varsity magazine, and what it later developed into, the University of Malaya Law Review (UMLR). Hanan elucidates that writing is part and parcel of who she is as a law student. She first signed up for VOX Malaya in her first year with the goal of ensuring that her thoughts were better articulated and her opinions were communicated effectively. VOX Malaya proved to be a good platform for Hanan to sharpen such skills. Hanan was stationed under the Academic Bureau and was responsible for write-ups that concerned academic matters and current global issues. “These were all right up my alley!”, Hanan says.
When VOX Malaya was revamped into UMLR, Hanan was already in her second year. She stayed on with the team and was placed
in the Journal Editorial division from which she was able to witness the growth of the organisation from a law school magazine publication into a highly regarded academic publication. Hanan is of the belief that UMLR grew and thrived in the way that it did due to the people in the organisation who collectively shared the same passion for writing as well as appreciation towards the dissemination of knowledge. Upon receiving the opportunity to take part in the establishment of UMLR, Hanan grew to truly understand the values that UMLR’s establishing team wished to bring forward as an organisation– that UMLR continues to improve in its capacity as an academic journal while retaining its initial goal of being a hub of legal information and an accessible platform for students to write. Quite naturally, Hanan took charge of UMLR in its second year of operation and was appointed Editor-in-Chief.
Hanan (top row, sixth from left) with the 2017/2018 Editorial Board of the University of Malaya Law Review during a visit to Lexis Nexis Malaysia.
During her tenure as Editor-in-Chief, Hanan reveals that she placed heavy focus on UMLR’s online platform which was rather underdeveloped during her time. This was because resources were being pooled to ensure the successful publication of the inaugural edition of the academic journal. Hanan felt strongly about maintaining UMLR’s online presence and pushed on with her idea of making an online publication. Thanks to Hanan and her team’s effort, UMLR was able to garner around a thousand views for its online articles at its infancy stage as an online publication. Hanan was visionary in that she was able to see to the growth of UMLR even after the dissolution of her tenure,
“I believe that the academic journal will not be able to house the rapidly developing law in Malaysia and the ever-changing commentaries on the legal landscape in the country. Therefore, the online publication is the best avenue to ensure that our write-ups remain relevant.”
Hanan is proud of what she and her team has achieved thus far and prompts for more active participation by the students of the Faculty,
“I hope that as UMLR continues to garner more traction, not only from members of the public but, also the legal fraternity, that students will take more initiative to not only showcase their intelligence and legal skills through analysis and comments but, to present them under the spotlight in hopes of recognition from practitioners who have the power to enact change and make reforms.”
Hanan discloses that initially, her source of motivation lies in proving herself and other people wrong but, it has now changed to the will to be the version of herself that she can live with. Finally, when asked about her time at the Faculty as well as whether she has any regrets, Hanan has this to say,
“My only regret is living up to other people’s ideals when I know they are mentally healthier compared to me, and that I should have moved at my own pace. There were times when I pushed myself because of my fear of being perceived as mediocre. My advice is that if you need to take a break then do so, even if others think that this is the time to seize the day and hustle. Respect your body and mind. You are going to need them for a very long time.”
Written by Marsha Madzli.