The ASLI-Star Merdeka Essay Writing Competition 2017

1. In conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of Malaysia’s Independence, ASLI and the STAR will be holding a Merdeka Essay Writing Competition. The competition is open to all young Malaysian, from ages 16 to 22, who are registered in a secondary school under the Malaysian education syllabus, or studying in a college or university in Malaysia.

2. This competition is open to all Malaysians.

3. The deadline for submission has been extended to 6 October 2017 before 4pm. Only the first 500 essays submitted and received via email at will be judged.

4. The theme of the essay writing contest is: “Promoting National Unity and Moderation”.

For Category A: Secondary School Students
Write an essay on: “Is there a symbol that can be used to unite all Malaysians respective of race, culture and religion and how would you use that to promote national unity in schools?”

For Category B: College/University Students
Write an essay on: “From the perspective of a young adult, discuss the importance and strengths of national unity for Malaysia and how moderation plays a part in achieving such unity.”

5. All entries must be written in English.

6. All entries must be original and submitted to this contest alone. Entries to previous competitions will not be accepted. 

7. All essays must be previously unpublished in any medium, either in printed material or on-line.

8. Any form of plagiarism will result in the disqualification of an entry. Entries will be submitted to anti- plagiarism software checking. All quotes and references throughout the essay must be properly cited.

9. All entries will be judged on content, originality, structure, style and language accuracy. 

10. All entries must follow the specifications below:

Paper size: A4
Font style: Arial (title must be in bold text) 

Font size: 12 

Spacing: double space 

Alignment: justified 

Margin: 1 inch margin on each side 

Word count: 400-800 words (Category A), 500-1000 words (Category B)
Please include the word count at the end of your essay.

11. Interested participants should submit their entries by email to, with the following details:

Please indicate clearly Category A or B
• Complete Name 

• Mobile phone
• Landline
• Email address 

• Complete Residential Address 

• Name of School/College/University 

• Year, Course/Major 

• School /College/University Address

12. All entries will be judged by an expert Board of Judges. Their decision is final.

13. The prizes shall be: 

For Category A: Secondary School Students

RM1500 for first prize
RM1000 for second prize
RM500 for third prize
RM200 for 5 consolation prizes

For Category B: College/University Students

RM3000 for first prize
RM2000 for second prize
RM1000 for third prize
RM200 for 5 consolation prizes

14.The best 3 essays for both categories will be published in the Star newspaper.


1. The Board of Judges will comprise of representatives and officials from partner organisations.

2. The entries shall be judged based on the following criteria: 

3. The decision of the Board of Judges is final and the winners shall be announced in November 2017.

4. Liability
i. The Organisers will not be responsible or liable for:
– Any delay and/or failure in participating in this Competition due to any reason beyond the control of the Organisers; or
– Any injury, loss, problem, damages or costs of any kind suffered resulting from participation in this Competition or in result of accepting or utilising the prizes awarded.

ii. General
– Judges’ decision is final and not subject to appeal. No correspondence will be entertained.
– The Organisers reserve the right to amend, terminate or add on to the terms and conditions at any time by placing a notice at the relevant website or any designated area.

For more information, please contact us at


Eligibility and Conditions of Entry

1. Only Malaysian students from government and private schools using the Malaysian education syllabus and colleges and University may enter. Participants should be between 16 and 22 years old to be eligible to enter the ASLI-STAR Merdeka Essay Writing Competition (hereafter ‘Competition’).
2. All entries must be in English and submitted via email to No written hardcopy submissions will be accepted.
3. Submission deadline: 31 October 2017 before 4pm. Essays received after the deadline will be automatically deemed ineligible.
4. By submitting the entry, the participants agree with the competition organisers that:
a. The participant is the author of the submitted work;
b. The submitted work is original and unpublished;
c. Participants have read and agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of this Competition;
d. All the information provided is true and accurate;
e. To bear any consequences (including automatically being disqualified from participating in this Competition) in the event of his/her breach of any terms as set out hereof.
5. The intellectual property rights of the submitted essays will be assigned to the Asia Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) (hereafter ‘Organisers’) and the Organisers reserve the right to reprint the essays in any format without compensation. Appropriate citations will be given to writers.
6. In compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010, visit for more information on how the Organisers may collect and use the personal information that the participants have provided.
7. Category A entries – The minimum word count is 400 words and maximum words count is 800 words.
8. Category B entries – The minimum word count is 500 words and maximum words count is 1000.
9. Any essays that do not meet the minimum word count or exceed the maximum word count will be disqualified.
10. Each participant is allowed to submit one essay only.
11. Winning entrants are expected to show originality and flair, adhere to academic standards and demonstrate competent use of English as a written language. This includes a good standard of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

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