About this segment: Person 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 successes.
Saif holding his team’s most prized possessions: two international memorial prize awards in the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition 2015, Washington DC.
Saifullah Qamar, or commonly known as Saif, is one of the most accomplished mooters in the University of Malaya Law Faculty. Well-known for his mooting achievements and academic excellence, he was part of the UM teams which successfully brought our faculty to great heights in the mooting world, such as winning the Novice Arbitration Mooting Competition (NAMCO) in 2014, the national rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition two years in a row in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition 2015.
When asked about his proudest moments, he cited two milestones; the first is when the UM team he was a part of in 2015 successfully ranked as one of the Top 32 teams in the world in the international rounds of Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the most prestigious mooting competition in the world, when his team represented Malaysia in the international rounds in Washington DC, United States. The second, was when he was part of the UM team which made its debut participation in the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition 2015 held in Tokyo. He was filled with joy when the team was announced the Asia Cup Champion, establishing University of Malaya as one of the most formidable mooting powerhouses in the region.
Saif and his team which marked a significant milestone for our faculty by winning the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition 2015 in their debut appearance
Saif’s passion for mooting began the day he joined the law faculty as he found the activity to be exhilarating and fun, especially when he was able to solve complicated legal questions. This brought him a sense of satisfaction, and he found it a fulfilling mental exercise. Saif reminisces fondly the days where he would spend day and night with his team preparing to present the best possible case to tackle a challenging moot problem.
“Mooting teaches law students practical skills, spending a tremendous amount of time to prepare for the competitions and learning the significance of patience and humanity. But more importantly, it is the interaction with teammates that becomes the most important lesson to me.” he believes.
Saif says his biggest challenge as a mooter is trying to manage time wisely in the midst of preparing for competitions, balancing studies and trying to keep his social life afloat. Despite such concerns, Saif is an excellent student, having made the Dean’s list, an honor reserved for students who achieve 3.7-grade point average and above in a given semester, an astounding 5 times in his 7 semesters in the law faculty, making him living proof that one can both excel in studies and moots. Saif thinks that mooting is a vital culture in the faculty and that every law student should try it out at least once.
"Go for it. Don't let anything hold you back from joining moots. Life is not all about studying. However, join moots with the right attitude and with the passion for winning. Being able to travel and see more of the world is also an incentive but not the primary incentive. The wrong attitude is thinking that you are not good enough. You will never be good enough until you force yourself to join and pressure yourself to excel."
Saif’s first international moot competition together with his teammates, representing Malaysia in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition 2015
After 4 years of serving the faculty and reaping the fruits of his hard work and commitment, he advises juniors that there is more to law school than the legal skills we learn in lectures like advocacy and drafting, but soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, people relations, and respect towards one another are equally important as keys to success. Saif himself is living testament to the vast array of benefits mooting can provide to help one grow as an upstanding individual.
In his final year, Saif’s passion for mooting is still unquenched. At the time of writing, Saif is preparing as an oralist for the upcoming 2017 UM-NUS Moot Competition held in May in our faculty. Besides mooting, Saif has also decided to commit himself to giving back to the faculty by coaching junior mooters in the faculty. He was the student advisor of our very own Novice Arbitration Mooting Competition (NAMCO) 2017 team which saw our two mooters emerge as the joint Best Oralists of the tournament, and one team also won the Best Memorial award, succeeding their coach’s team who was granted the honor in 2014. Saif is very proud of their growth, seeing them helping and caring for one another, pushing and motivating each other to perform to the best of their ability. Saif is still left amazed with their attitude as they put the team’s interest above their own.
"I couldn't have asked for a better team to make my final semester in this faculty even more memorable." He said.
Saif and the NAMCO 2017 teams he coached.
Despite his busy schedule, Saif hopes that before he graduates, he would be able to allocate some time to relax and enjoy the last few weeks of university life with those he cares deeply about and whose company he appreciates and cherishes throughout his time in law school. “This is the time for us to build friendships and share our knowledge with one another. A little jealousy is normal but don't envy people and end up aiming to shoot them down. Propel each other to greater heights." He reminds all of us.
Saif and his friends while representing the Faculty of Law in a student exchange program in Japan.