MahWengKwai & Associates proudly supports the Human Rights Festival, a significant initiative organised by the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee. This engagement reflects our firm’s dedication to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) values. The festival is a beacon for human rights advocacy in Malaysia and is scheduled for 10 December 2023 at APW Bangsar.

About the Human Rights Festival

The festival is not just an event but a movement, fostering inclusivity and justice in society. It features booths from various NGOs, each spotlighting critical issues ranging from refugees and indigenous rights to disability and children’s rights. Engaging activities, performances, and games are planned to entertain and educate attendees of all ages.

Advocating Human Rights

This year, over 10 of our lawyers are actively volunteering to organise the festival, demonstrating their passion for social justice. They are involved in tasks like coordinating with NGOs, managing event logistics, and providing legal insights during discussions.

“Human rights are not mere legal doctrines confined to statutes, they are the inalienable rights of every individual, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstances. As lawyers, human rights should be the moral compass that guides our interactions, decisions, and advocacy in our everyday legal practice so that human rights will not be a “privilege” bestowed only upon a select few. Certainly, the Bar Council holds a unique responsibility to promote and safeguard human rights in Malaysia. However, it is important to recognize that the onus of advocating for human rights should not rest solely on the shoulders of legal institutions such as the Human Right Commission of Malaysia (“SUHAKAM”), KOMAS and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (“SUARAM”). Non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) and civil society organizations (“CSOs”) play an equally crucial role in contributing to a world where every person is treated with respect and fairness. It is through collaboration and a shared commitment to justice that we can build societies where human rights are not just protected but actively promoted. Together, we can turn the concept of human rights from rhetoric into a tangible reality for everyone.”
-Dato Mah Weng Kwai, former Commissioner of The Human Right Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and Consultant of Messrs MahWengkwai & Associates

“The core of our professional ethos lies a deep-seated dedication to championing human rights, not merely as a corporate responsibility, but as an integral part of our daily work. As a lawyer, we embody the skills, network, platform and voice needed to advocate for and help underprivileged societies. I am proud to be part of a firm that doesn’t just talk about human rights but lives and breathes these values. I encourage young lawyers to actively participate in the Bar Council Human Rights Committee and its events to make positive change and use our voices as a vehicle for change and to empower the public in upholding human rights in Malaysia. It is important for organisations to remember that human rights work should not just be a checkbox or a public relations strategy; it is a fundamental aspect of who we are and what we strive to achieve for a better world.”
-Cassandra Nicole Thomazios, MWKA Partner & Co-Chair of the Human Rights Festival 2023

“Advocating for Human Rights can be anything from doing pro-bono work, speaking engagements on human rights causes, CSR work, donations to helping underprivileged communities on the ground. I believe that everyone can make a start and a difference no matter how small to give back to society. Human Rights are universal that affect everyone and it is everyone’s responsibility to advocate for it”
-Gan Chong Chieh, MWKA Partner

“A lifetime of service for something greater than ourselves is a shared goal of many: parents raising us, doctors saving lives, servicemen protecting nations, artists sharing their art and, gratefully, the list goes on! To me, especially as a lawyer, that lifetime of service means to always be intentional in being involved in as many CSR activities, pro bono work and anything where I can dedicate my time to something meaningful besides work. I am thankful that I am part of a team where such opportunities come by often and I believe that is a testament to the amazing people I have the privilege of working with, who spare no effort to be a light for the protection of human rights, for all. Currently we are happily devoting our time to organising the Human Rights Festival 2023 coming up soon and we hope to welcome all human rights defenders there!
– Anis Mohd Sohaimi, MWKA Senior Associate

“With gratitude for the past and anticipation for the future, I’ve been privileged to stand at the forefront of human rights advocacy. Each event, every committee served, becomes a testament to championing the rights of the oppressed. With my involvement in the Human Rights Festival 2023 committee, surrounded by individuals whose unwavering commitment echoes a symphony of change, I am deeply inspired by their dedication to this cause. As I traverse my journey in the legal field, I eagerly anticipate delving deeper into the heart of the human rights committee in Malaysia, knowing that each step forward is a beacon of hope for a fairer, more just world.”
– Sarah San, MWKA Pupil-in-Chambers

Past Contributions and Our Ongoing Commitment

Our commitment to human rights is longstanding. We have participated in events like the Human Rights Festival 2022 and the Responsible Business Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur 2023, organised by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. These events have been vital in strengthening our relationships with various agencies and underscoring our support for human rights in Malaysia. To read more about our other CSR work, click here.

The Malaysian Bar’s Human Rights Festival is more than an event; it’s a symbol of advocacy and a platform for NGOs to voice human rights concerns. Our ongoing participation in such events is a testament to our firm’s dedication to social justice and human rights.

Join Us in Making a Difference

We invite you to join us at the Human Rights Festival to experience this celebration of human rights and to learn more about how we can collectively contribute to a just and equitable society.

At MahWengKwai & Associates, we are committed to creating a positive impact and contributing to a society that upholds and respects the rights of all. Join us in this journey towards a more humane and just world.

By Raymond Mah and Cassandra Nicole Thomazios

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Note: This article does not constitute legal advice to any specific case. The facts and circumstances of each and every case will differ and therefore will require specific legal advice. Feel free to contact us for complimentary legal consultation.