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. First, to give due recognition to the contributions of our student leaders and second, so that their achievements might inspire other members of the faculty towards greater successes.
Lee Min Lun, an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.
Lee Min Lun, or better known as Marcus, is an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya. His outstanding portfolio includes being one of the Faculty’s most decorated mooters, a prominent pro bono student activist, and an articulate writer. Graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) in 2017, Marcus is now serving as an in-house legal counsel at a statutory body which promotes monetary and financial stability in Malaysia.
Born and raised in Bentong, Pahang, Marcus had always had an avid interest in public law, particularly Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Criminal Procedure. He believed that a law degree is a powerful key that can unlock many doors of opportunities. Therefore, he decided to pursue his undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.
Looking back at his four years of law school, Marcus is a renowned mooter within the Faculty with numerous accomplishments. His passion in mooting was sparked by the advice he received from his seniors — that mooting is an invaluable experience unlike any other in law school. Wanting to improve his soft skills, Marcus signed up as a researcher for the International Humanitarian Law Moot (IHL) Competition during his freshman year in 2014 – his first venture into mooting. From then on, he participated in the 2014 Thomas Philip Novice Arbitration Moot Court Competition (NAMCO) where his team emerged as the National Champion and won the Best Memorial Award.
In 2015, he embarked on a journey to represent UM in the 2015 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, whereby his team emerged as the National Champion and Winner of the Adrian W. Delamore Best Overall Memorial Award. Thus, he was qualified to represent Malaysia in the international rounds in Washington D.C. His team made history when they successfully brought home the Alona E. Evans Award (Fourth Place) for Best Combined Memorial, a monumental achievement for UM in the prestigious competition.
He then participated in the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition held in Tokyo, Japan. Marcus and his teammates went all out and won the Foreign Minister’s Trophy as the Overall Champion, crowning the University of Malaya as the Champion of Asia Cup for the first time.
Marcus and his teammates, Champions of the Asia Cup International Law Moot Competition in 2015.
Marcus then decided to participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition again in 2016. To him, Jessup is the ultimate moot competition. As he was not an oralist in his first participation, he wanted to give himself a real challenge to hone his advocacy skills. “Jessup is harder than any other mooting competition, it’s the most challenging one and is extremely competitive. I enjoyed challenges, so I might as well take up the hardest one as that’s where one can learn the most.” Once again, his team was crowned National Champion and Winner of the Adrian W. Delamore Best Overall Memorial Award, and represented Malaysia in the international rounds held in Washington D.C.
National Champion of the 2016 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition.
Marcus’s final moot competition was the 2017 Commonwealth Moot, organised by the Commonwealth Legal Education Association and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association in Melbourne, Australia. His team emerged as the semi-finalist and Marcus was ranked as the 3rd Best Oralist throughout the tournament.
At the 2017 Commonwealth Moot Competition held in Melbourne, Australia.
Mooting, as Marcus expressed, has taught him several important life lessons. Apart from the attributed improvements to language and advocacy skills, mooting trained him to be critical with the legal arguments laid in front of him. There are always two sides to a coin, and a critical mind – which he had learnt to cultivate - is required to dissect possible legal arguments of an issue from both angles. Another lesson he learnt was to embrace criticism, which is part and parcel of mooting, and of which he received plenty throughout his four years. He conveyed that whether the remarks be positive or negative, we should learn to accept them with an open heart.
Aside from mooting, Marcus was also a member of the Student Representative Council 2016/2017, well-known for his pro bono activities. He represented University of Malaya students in several cases involving their constitutional rights before the university’s Disciplinary Appeal Tribunal. Notably, Marcus represented student activists Anis Syafiqah and three others before the tribunal, whereby the students received suspensions from their studies for their involvement in the peaceful “Tangkap MO1” rally. Upon appeal, the one-semester suspension verdict was reversed and successfully lifted.
He then represented student activists Tan Jia You and three others who were punished with an exorbitant fine of RM1350.00 for showing placards at the 1MDB Townhall held in the University of Malaya. The decision was also successfully reversed and the fines were lifted. Lastly, Marcus represented students Ho Chi Yang and friends who were punished with stern warnings for making representations to the media during an interview without first obtaining an approval from the University. Unfortunately, the decision was affirmed by the Appeal tribunal.
When asked about the reason he decided to be involved, Marcus stated that his conscience beckoned him to offer the students some help and legal advice. “According to UM rules, students can represent other students. Since these students happened to be students under my purview, it became imperative for me to help them.” Marcus found it meaningful to have been able to represent these students with the guidance from other external lawyers, lectures and students, as these cases involved the students’ fundamental constitutional rights such as the right to peaceful assembly, right to freedom of speech, and right to freedom of expression. He also learnt to be patient and developed comprehensible legal arguments as the members of the tribunal are not legally trained. Helping the students at the initial level alleviated their hardships at the earliest possible stage, which was crucial as the punishments may jeopardise their studies and negatively impact their finances.
Marcus as the candidate for the Student Representative Council 2016/2017
Besides being a mooter and a student activist, Marcus is also an eloquent writer with numerous accolades to his name. He was the recipient of the Butterworths Law Publishers Book Prize as the student with the best written academic project paper of the year, which he acclaimed through his Third Year project paper entitled “Free Speech and the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984”. He was also a researcher for a published book chapter with the title “Political and Religious Hegemony via the Suppression of Expression: Book Banning and Film Censorship in Malaysia”, authored by Associate Professor Dr. Azmi Sharom and Dr. Saw Tiong Guan. In addition, he is a joint keynote author in collaboration with former Court of Appeal judge, Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus in their article entitled “An Overview: Federal Constitution and the Protection of Indigenous People in Malaysia” for Volume 2 of the University of Malaya Law Review. This collaboration was not unprecedented as Marcus and Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus have previously worked together on a number of speeches, articles, and papers. He considered Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus to be a kind mentor, who selflessly and constantly shares his legal knowledge and wisdom with him. In his words, he owed Dato’ Seri an immense intellectual debt. Therefore, when he was given the opportunity to be a co-author of the keynote article, Marcus accepted the invitation and the rest is history.
Marcus’s extensive portfolio truly reflects the values by which he lives, which is to truly commit to everything that he does. His advice to his younger self? “To not just survive law school, but to excel, especially in academic studies.” He remarked that law students need not conform to the default definition of a ‘good student’. One must always stand firm with their own principles and not necessarily follow the popular opinion. We should find meaning in whatever we do, be it mooting, debating, activism or politics, and paint life the way we want it to be.
To law students who wish to embark on their mooting journey, Marcus offers some advice: “Just do it. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, as they are part and parcel of life. That is how we move forward and gain most.”