MWKA collaborates with TrustLaw to assist several non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”) in streamlining their operations and expanding their presence into new countries, such as Malaysia. TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal programme which connects high-impact NGOs and social enterprises that are working to create social and environmental changes with leading law firms to provide free legal assistance to assist such NGOs to achieve their respective objectives. Our team’s experience in both corporate & commercial matters and dispute resolution allows us to advise NGOs and social enterprises effectively while allowing them to save valuable resources on their legal needs.
Our team is passionate about the law, but also about helping those less fortunate in public interest matters. This includes standing up for human rights. We are pleased to share that we have successfully completed and advised several NGOs on pro bono cases introduced by TrustLaw on the following public interest and human rights issues.
In April 2019, we advised an international non-profit organisation that uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right.
The MWKA corporate team (Cassandra Thomazios, Tommy Wong) provided regulatory and corporate governance advice in relation to the non-profit organisation incorporating an NGO in Malaysia to advocate for reproductive rights within the region.
Refugees & Asylum Seekers
In December 2019, we advised a non-profit organisation registered in Malaysia, with a global presence in Switzerland, Australia and Indonesia, that is involved in empowering displaced communities in transit countries to live with self determination and dignity.
The MWKA employment team (Janessa Kok) provided employment advice for empowering refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.
In November 2021, we were also approached by TrustLaw to assist a non-profit organisation incorporated in Malaysia promoting equality and access to justice for refugees by bridging learning gaps and self-reliance.
The MWKA corporate team (Gan Chong Chieh, Cassandra Thomazios, Tommy Wong, Nur Amira Md Mashor) advised, reviewed, amended and assisted with the drafting of a template Memorandum of Understanding and template Volunteer Contracts for the organisation to engage with third parties in relation to assisting refugee children gain access to education and education opportunities in Malaysia.
In October 2020, we took on an international project spearheaded by one of the largest specialized non-governmental legal service organizations in Bangladesh that supports the poor and marginalized to access formal and informal justice systems. They provide free legal aid and undertake public interest litigation and advocacy activities to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any person, particularly those living in poverty, including women, children, and the marginalized and harder-to-reach communities.
The MWKA corporate team (Cassandra Thomazios, Tommy Wong, Anis Sohaimi) advised on and prepared a comprehensive legal research paper on the relevant laws in Malaysia to tackle the spread of fake news and the legal defences for improving access to justice for the poor and marginalised people. We worked with legal teams from the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to provide legal research for each jurisdiction respectively to assist and advise the NGO on laws relating to issues concerning the spread of false information, misinformation, disinformation and mal information.
The aim of this research paper was to create a guide for lawyers and rights advocates in Bangladesh to refer and use by exploring provisions relating to or that deal with ‘propaganda’, ‘hurt to the image of the state’, ‘hurt to religious sentiment’, ‘criminal defamation’ and ‘hate speech’ which are being used widely and increasingly on the pretext of curbing the spread of fake news, which include unlawful arrests.
Persons with Disabilities
In February 2021, we advised a local social enterprise that engages and equips children, youth and adults with all forms of disabilities and medical challenges with skills needed for equal education and economic opportunities in Malaysia.
We took on two separate projects for this social enterprise where both the MWKA corporate and corporate litigation teams (Gan Chong Chieh, Cassandra Thomazios, Nur Amira Md Mashor) jointly assisted in providing legal advice and drafted non-disclosure agreements and employment contracts respectively. The aim of this exercise was to equip the social enterprise with legal documents necessary to engage third party trainers for the provision of education programmes whilst maintaining their intellectual property rights.
In July 2021, we were approached by TrustLaw to assist an international NGO based in Ireland that implements programmes designed to address extreme poverty in communities in specific countries.
The MWKA corporate team (Gan Chong Chieh, Cassandra Thomazios, Aaron Liew, Nur Amira Md Mashor) provided regulatory and corporate governance advice in relation to the establishment of a charitable organisation in Malaysia and dealt with issues related to charitable donations, tax obligations and exemptions and jurisdictional comparisons.