Level-headed. Self-reliant. Optimistic. These are the three words that aptly describe Aiman Firhad. Within the faculty and the university, the Ampang native is warmly known as Aiman.
Gleaming with an allegiant passion for institutional reform, Aiman solemnly believes in youth involvement as a catalyst for change within the administration. His love for the art of persuasion, which stemmed from his schooling days, has made him more critical and analytical in his approaches. This, in turn, boosted his confidence when communicating with others. His proficiency is further substantiated by his election as the Secretary of Strategic Planning under the Universiti Malaya Students’ Union (‘UMSU’) 2020 as well as the President of the College Action Committee for the Tun Ahmad Zaidi Residential College 2018/2019.
Aiman has also established himself as a prominent leader within the university, thanks to his proactiveness and diligence when voicing out student-related issues. For example, the student body’s mental health and the dire need to strengthen the safeguards against sexual harassment.
Throughout the interview, we will take a peek into Aiman’s charismatic persona as a reformist and a student leader!
‘One of the things that I am passionate about is institutional reforms. Youths are agents of change, and I believe that our voices should be involved in the decision-making process of the current administration.’
Aiman was born in Ampang, a city well-known for its array of embassies. Then, he moved to Kota Damansara, where he waved through his childhood and early adulthood. During his primary and secondary school days, Aiman was involved in prefectorial boards and has joined public speaking competitions — English and Malay alike. The experience cultivated his oratory skills, which supplemented his leadership skills. Now, Aiman diligently voices out opinions on students’ welfare and the inclusivity of the younger generation for leadership roles. He also has an affinity for performing arts — reflected in his enjoyment of dancing, beatboxing, and drum-playing. At one point, he was even selected to represent the Tun Ahmad Zaidi Residential College in the Universiti Malaya Art Festival (‘FESENI’). Aiman’s active participation in extracurricular activities — Nasyid, ping pong, and softball — greatly illustrates his multi-faceted talents.
What sparked your interest to pursue an undergraduate law degree?
‘After the passing of my late father, my family had to undergo a rough period of handling legal matters. This was the major turning point in my life which motivated me to pursue law.’
Aiman is the first in his family to step foot into the field of law. Venturing into unfamiliar waters indeed posed its own set of challenges, particularly in terms of finding and forging his own way. Nonetheless, he derives his driving force from his dedication to help others and his late father’s encouragement to pursue law. Looking back, the decision was not too far-fetched. Aiman was never really keen on the STEM subjects, but rather, he was more drawn to disciplines that involve research and reading. Taking all of these factors into account, he decided to pursue a career in the legal fraternity.
He admitted that his path does take some unexpected turns, but he also believes that in the patch of darkness, there will always be a light that wheels him through for hope.
Toh Zhee Qi is currently in her final year at the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya ('UM'). Before emerging as the social butterfly she is today, Zhee Qi was a timid young girl confined within the comfort of her chrysalis. Now, her voice precedes her as one of the Faculty's most prominent youth environmental advocates. Her journey took flight when she co-founded the Faculty's first environmental law organisation, Ecolawgy. Flying even higher, she branched out to various initiatives that revolve around climate change advocacy. Her efforts include working with United Nations Children's Fund ('UNICEF'), speaking at the British Council's A.R.C. Challenge Malaysia Forum, Youth Climate Change and Cultural Rights, and recently appearing as a guest speaker for BFM radio's podcast, entitled 'The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis'.
Besides being an ardent supporter of green change, Zhee Qi is also well-known for her fervent poetry writing under the pseudonym Treepokok. Mainly published on her social media platforms, her poems have sculpted her ability to express her emotions about love, current issues, and even roti canai.
Throughout this interview, we watched Zhee Qi's discovery of her footing as an excellent student, speaker, poet and above all, a human being.
How did you find your way to the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya?
'Life works in the most interesting ways. I never thought of reading law. It was a bit later when I realised that having a law degree would allow me to venture into a variety of career options.'
After establishing a scientific background during high school, Zhee Qi was set on continuing such a path — even going as far as to tell her friends that she would never step foot into legal academia. Yet, her affinity for the art of literature, sparked during her college days, redirected her trajectory into pursuing a law degree. She believed that apart from its versatility as the key to various career opportunities, it would also allow her room to keep her passions alive. One thing led to another, and she soon found herself as one of the fresh faces of the Faculty. Despite the unexpected turn of fate, she clarified that UM was always a place that she looked forward to calling home.
It ultimately occurred to her that she was on the right path when she joined a mooting competition during her first year. In preparing for the Novice Arbitration Mooting Competition 2019 ('NAMCO'), Zhee Qi found satisfaction in the rigour of researching and problem-solving. Albeit standing as a freshman unfamiliar with the relevant areas of law, her charisma and confidence caught the attention of the arbitrators. Throughout the journey, she reminisces the opportunity to simplify legal jargon the most. Taking her involvement in the Malaysian Youth Delegation ('MYD') as an example, Zhee Qi was one of the few members with a legal background. This gave her an upper hand in understanding the law before attempting to convey it to her peers, particularly during the drafting of the MYD Constitution.