Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Giving Food to mark Word Refugee Day - KL Bar & AWL Buka Puasa Event with the Rohingyas of Selayang

Reproduced from

IN CONJUNCTION with World Refugee Day on June 20, the Rohingya community and the poor in Selayang were treated to food courtesy of the Malaysian International Welfare and Humanitarian Organisation (MyWelfare) in Selayang Baru.

The Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee, Association of Women Lawyers, Cowboy Food Trucks, Lokka Cafe Food Truck and Sri Anggerik distributed 500 food packets to the Rohingya community at the MyWelfare office.
At the event, RM5,500 was donated to Rainbow of Love Informal School for Refugee Children.
MyWelfare exco member Jules Rahman Ong said the distribution of food was held daily at the centre during the fasting month.

“Apart from Ramadan, we also distribute food to these refugees daily. We started the programme four months ago and were distributing about 100 to 150 packets. The number has grown rapidly and now our distribution stands at about 1,000 food packets daily not only to Rohingyas but also poor Malaysians living around the area.
“Among the items given out are rice, vegetables, porridge, meat, beans, potatoes and drinks.
“Four months ago, we moved from Jalan 1 to Jalan 4 in Selayang Baru and occupy this three-storey building which is very strategic and convenient,’’ said Jules, adding that MyWelfare also provides free medical consultation, food and non-food distribution and a skills training centre for refugees.

Volunteers, including lawyers, distributing food packets to the refugees at MyWelfare in Selayang Baru during the event. —Photos: ROHAIZAT MD DARUS

MyWelfare also distributes food packets daily to the nearby Myanmar community and poor Malaysians on a three-wheel motorcycle.
Right after the food packs were distributed to Rohingyas, a volunteer filled a motorcycle with food packs and distributed them in Batu Caves and Kepong.
Jules said the refugees and asylum seekers do not have the right to work legally in Malaysia and often work in informal sectors in jobs that are dirty, dangerous and dull; which are not popular with Malaysians.
“Often they are underpaid and exploited and do not get sick leave. We provide them with basic necessities like shelter, food and clothing,’’ he said.
Association of Women Lawyers president Goh Siu Lin said they wanted to make this year more meaningful and decided to give away the food packs and also break fast with the refugees after the food was distributed.

Rafik (with beard) and volunteers placing food in a three-wheel motorcycle for distribution throughout Selayang area.

Rafik Ismail, 41, who is a Rohingya community leader here, said he was very grateful to Malaysians who had shown concern for the community during the fasting month.
“MyWelfare has been helping refugees here since 2011. Many of the refugees are unemployed but have children to feed.
“Many of them are non-Muslims and we provide them with food too,’’ he said.

Friday, June 10, 2016

President's Address - 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Association of Women Lawyers (9th May, 2016)


It has been a gift and honour serve as President of AWL, my first year in this role. I am thankful for the unwavering support of the AWL Exco. We have shared novel experiences as well as challenges which have taken us off the beaten path and beyond our usual comfort zones. Its been an interesting journey.

For me personally, there were many firsts. I learnt how to draft my first press statement, spoke at my first press conference, attended meetings advocating for law reform with policy-makers (on the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Act) and chaired meetings comprising representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies for the Child Sexual Abuse SOP project. I also observed the marvellous friendship and synergy of the women activists who make up the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), a coalition of 12 womens groups. They are tireless, strong and courageous. 

I am grateful for dedication and commitment of the AWL Exco. We work well as a team, with a shared passion to carry out AWLs main objectives. These include:

        To promote and increase the participation of women in all levels of judicial, legal and public institutions.

        To provide education, gender sensitization and awareness in legal and related fields.

        To monitor laws, legislation, policies and practice directions and to advocate reforms that ensures promotion of equality and eradication of all forms of discrimination against women.

        To promote the adoption and implementation of international human rights standards, principles and norms.

        To provide a professional and social network for women lawyers and law graduates in Malaysia

We draw our inspiration from those who have paved the way before us. Our founding members, Dato Noor Farida Ariffin (former Ambassador to the Hague and G25 spokesperson), Tan Sri Dato Seri Siti Norma Yaacob (our first woman Federal Court Judge) and Dato Ambiga Sreenivasan (former Malaysian Bar President and co-chairperson of BERSIH, a coalition for free and fair elections).

AWL is also fortunate to have the continuing support of three of our past Presidents, Ms Vicky Alahakone, Ms Foo Yet Ngo and immediate past-President, Ms Meera Samanther.
Over the past year, AWL has concentrated on the areas of law reform, advocacy and outreach to the law colleges. It has been gratifying to see how each has taken form and the Annual Report has set out comprehensively the work that we have done so far. Today, I would like to highlight three projects:

a) The Child Sexual Abuse SOP project From July 2015 to December, 2015, AWL had collaborated with the Attorney-Generals Chambers, WCC Penang, various governmental agencies and Child NGOs to identify gaps in the legal system and support services with the aim of creating a working together document/SOP on handling children involved in suspected child abuse/child sexual abuse. In January, 2016, AWL submitted a concept paper to YBGK (the National Legal Aid Foundation), seeking to extend YBGK support for victims of child sexual abuse, human-trafficking and domestic violence.

As a natural progression, AWL is currently working on forming a team of lawyers to provide watching brief support for survivors of child sexual abuse, to increase their access to justice, provide them with a voice and to alleviate re-traumatisation caused by the legal process. We have recently recruited six lawyers trained in Child Representation skills to be part of the AWL CSA team.

b) The Human trafficking project AWL had organised a series of talks to raise awareness and field trips to better understand the needs of human-trafficking survivors:

        27th January, 2015: AWL-KL Bar Activist Series: Legal Case Management Support for Victims of Human Trafficking by Daniel Lo;

        18th February, 2015: CNY visit to the shelter;

        12th August, 2015: AWL-KL Bar Activist Series Capacity Building for Lawyers to work with Victims of Human Trafficking by Anderson Selvasegaram and Tharini Cecil of Suka Society, Goh Siu Lin and Daniel Lo

        7th November, 2015: Deepavali visit to the shelter;

        16th December, 2015: Xmas visit to the shelter.

Originally, AWL aimed to work with the relevant NGOs to provide victim-centred legal services, such as pamphlets or videos on FAQs (legal process/ immigration/ ATIPSOM/ compensation). However, this project has to be put on hold due to events beyond our control.

c)  The Gender Equality Initiative is a collaboration between AWL, the Malaysian Bar and local private law colleges. Its aim is to create greater awareness amongst law students on gender equality. Last years GEI highlighted issues arising from Gender Discrimination within the Learning Environment and was very well received by the law students. The GEI appears to have taken a life of its own with more and more private law colleges and non-law colleges wanting to jump on board.

For 2016, the theme Women in Leadership Positions was selected, casting a spotlight on the challenges that women face when climbing up the corporate ladder, particularly the impact of gender stereotyping and gender discrimination. The statistics reveal that women are severely under-represented at the top levels of all sectors. We need to close this gender gap, break down the barriers to leadership and enhance opportunities for women to advance.

This years colloquium will take place on 14th June, 2016 at Inti College. The GEI colloquium has been ably led by Meera Samanther, Santhi Latha and Ida Daniella Zulkifili. Thank you!

Why do we need AWL?

I now move on to address a question which I frequently hear when I invite lawyers to become members of AWL.  Many have questioned the need for a society dedicated to women lawyers and law students.

To this, I say that AWL provides a valuable platform for women lawyers to speak with a collective voice in a supportive environment. AWL provides greater visibility to advocate for focused change on issues that impact us as women lawyers as well as on laws that impact women and children generally.

AWL has the potential for a diverse and rich membership base for professional networking and support. In the months to come, we hope to hold networking luncheons for members. I have recently spoken to the Gender and Inclusive Head of an international bank to speak at our inaugural lunch networking luncheon. So, stay tuned for more details!

In addition, to showcase the professional capabilities of women lawyers, AWL has in collaboration with the Kuala Lumpur Bar, organised a forum titled Women in Arbitration. Three women practitioners of differing seniority are featured, they are, Ms Tan Swee Imm, Ms Elaine Yap (AWL member) and Ms Sharon Chong. So do pencil in 12th of August 2016 into your diaries and give them your fullest support. 
I hope to see more members coming forward to work with us in making a difference as we continue to push the boundaries for womens equality and advancement both in the legal and non-legal spheres. To end, let me quote the inspirational words of my favourite badass feminist, Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who when asked as to how she would like to be remembered, said:

"Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something........ outside myself. 'Cause I've gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I've done for which I was not paid."

Thank you.
            Goh Siu Lin
President, Association of Women Lawyers

Monday, August 3, 2015

FREE PDC/AWL Workshop on Capacity Building for Lawyers to work with Victims of Human Trafficking on 12 August 2015

2 CPD Points (T3/12082015/KLB/KLB153024/2)

As part of the FREE Seminars conducted by the KLBC in line with the Malaysian Bar's resolution regarding a mandatory Continuing Professional Development ("CPD") Scheme, the KLBC Professional Development Committee ("PDC") and the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) have jointly scheduled the above Workshop on Wednesday, 12 August 2015 from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the KL Bar Auditorium, 4th Floor, Wisma Hangsam, No.1, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.

Over the past few months, news on human trafficking has been dominating our local headlines. Many lawyers may want to help but do not know how.

There is currently a gap in providing legal aid / assistance to victims of human trafficking as the reach of YBGK at the moment extends mostly to defendants in criminal proceedings only.

At the moment, after being found, trafficking victims are brought to government-approved shelters (although there are proposed amendments to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act that would allow them to be housed in specified NGO-run shelters as well) where they are held as part of a court-ordered protection measure that lasts up to 90 days (but this could be extended).

According to the 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released by the US State Department, in the past year, in Malaysia, there were 89 investigations under Human Trafficking compared to 190, and 9 convictions of traffickers compared to 21 in the previous year. The majority of victims are women who need to be advised on their rights.

The PDC is collaborating with the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Anderson Selvasegaram and Tharini Cecil of Suka Society and Mr. Daniel Lo of the PM's Department on an upcoming workshop to teach basic interviewing skills and on how to provide basic advice to these victims. The areas covered are:

• How to give legal advice to a victim of human trafficking?

• What are their legal needs?

• How can you help them?

The PDC would like encourage lawyers to come forward to assist anti-trafficking NGOs with capacity building and legal work. Please take the first step by attending the upcoming PDC-AWL Activist Workshop which will be based on case studies. You will be taken through a mock interview and participating NGOs (AWL, Suka Society and Tenaganita) will be on site to provide their feedback as well as share their perspectives.

Please save the date: 12th August 2015 (Wednesday), 2:30 to 4:30pm at the KLBar Auditorium, Wisma Hangsam.

As this is a FREE Seminar, Members of the Bar, Pupils-in-Chambers and Law Students who have registered are to ensure their attendance. Otherwise, it may deprive others of the opportunity to attend. Any cancellation shall be in writing and received by the KL Bar Secretariat by 3 working days prior to the Seminar. Members of the Bar, Pupils-in-Chambers and Law Students who have registered for the Seminar and fail to turn up, will not be allowed to register for future Free Seminars, Workshops,Talks and Forums organised by the PDC.

REGISTRATION FEE (Inclusive of 6% GST)

Members of the Bar, Pupils-in-Chambers / Law Students – FREE but registration is required.

NGOs -RM31.80 per participant.

Non-Members – RM106.00 per participant. Registration Must be Accompanied With Payment to Guarantee Your Place

Only 150 Seats Available. Click here to register.

Please be advised that certain supplies of goods and services that we make may be subject to GST and we are required to levy GST on such taxable goods and services from 1 April 2015. 

Kindly also note that we reserve the right to implement any necessary changes to our policies on goods and services that we may supply or on supplies we may receive from vendors.


Payment is to be made at any Maybank
Name of Account:  Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee
Account No:            564315003715

Please fax or email the bank in slip to 03-20321090 or

Registration is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.
Confirmation is upon receipt of payment.
The Organisers reserve the right to postpone or cancel the Event, should circumstances arise that make such action necessary.
Fee paid is non-refundable unless the Event is cancelled by the Organisers.  If a participant is unable to attend, a replacement participant is allowed.
The registration counter will be opened for registration at 2:00 pm on the day of the event. The Event will start at 2:30 pm sharp. Please be punctual.
Kindly note that Photo ID (IC, Driving Licence, etc) is required for registration.
Certificate of Attendance for participants is only provided upon request by filling up the Evaluation and Feedback Form and returning it to the Registration Desk AT THE END OF THE EVENT.
To be eligible for the Certificate of Attendance and CPD Points, please take note that:
You must participate in the Event until its completion including the Q & A Session and be present throughout the Event.
Latecomers (15 Minutes after the start time) and those who leave early will not be entitled to receive the Certificate of Attendance and the CPD Points.
For registration information, please contact Siti at the KL Bar Secretariat 03-20321440.

This email is automatically generated and the email address is not monitored. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this email then please contact the KLBC at

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gender Equality Initiative 2015 - Colloquium on Gender Discrimination in the Learning Environment at Taylor's University, 8.4.2015


AWL's President, Meera Samanther, with the participants
The Association of Women Lawyers and the Bar Council had in late 2014 banded together with Taylor's University, INTI University, Advanced Tertiary College ( ATC), KDU College and Brickfileds Asia College (BAC) to establish the Gender Equality Initiative 2015 (GEI). The objective of the event is to create greater awareness amongst university and college students on gender equality. The first event under the GEI was the Colloquium on Gender Discrimination in the Learning Environment, which was held at Taylor's University Lakeside Campus on the 8th of April 2015.
The colloquium comprised of 2 parts, the written research paper as well as the oral presentation. Each participant was evaluated on factors which include research, the content of their presentation and the effectiveness of the message that they tried to bring across.
The competition at Taylor's University began at 2.00p.m. wherein 8 participants from the collaborating institutions delivered their presentations on issues relating to gender discrimination such as lack of access to education for young girls and discrimination against transgender athletes in schools. The participants demonstrated a high level of dedication and genuine passion towards their research. They also managed to handle the Question & Answer session with poise and confidence despite being bombarded with difficult questions from the audience. The winners of the competition are:-
Champion: Joash Nicholas Ong
1st Runner Up: Sukayna Khalid Khan
2nd Runner Up: Patricia Chong Su Yin
All in all, the Colloquium was a success and AWL together with the collaborators look forward to the next event under the GEI, which is the upcoming Debate Competition on the 16th of June 2015.

Annual General Meeting of the Association of Women Lawyers - 29th April, 2015

AWL's AGM held at the Bar Council meeting room. Here we are hard at work amending the constitution... long overdue.

The AWL family has grown .. old friends and new faces.

AWL Exco for 2015-2017

President: Goh Siu Lin
Vice-President: Tham Hui Ying
Secretary: Kathlyn Lee Sue In
Assistant Secretary: Chong Lit San
Treasurer: Ida Daniella Zulkifili
Assistant Treasurer: Nur Raihan Jasmani

Committee Members:
Meera Samantha
Sheena Gurbakhash
Santhi Latha

Co-opted Members:
Kiran Dhaliwal
Sharmini Thiruchelvam
Lee Lyn-Ni,
Quah Su Enn

Gender Equality Initiative Debate Competition at INTI International University on 16 June 2015


The Association of Women Lawyers together with the Bar Council and in collaboration with INTI International University, Taylor's University, Advance Tertiary College, Brickfields Asia College, HELP University and KDU banded together again for the Gender Equality Initiative (GEI) by organising a Debate Competition at INTI International University on 16 June 2015.

 The event began with a welcoming note by the INTI Law Faculty Dean, Dr. Jagdeep Singh, followed by an opening address by AWL's Treasurer, Ida Daniella Zulkifili.

The theme of this debate competition is 'gender equality', which encompasses issues such as:-
i) gender based discrimination at the workplace, politics and in the education system;
ii) discrimination against people who identify themselves as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT);
iii) the difference between sex and gender; and
iv) feminism in the modern world.

A total of 8 teams participated in the Debate Competition, which saw the students arguing on 3 motions:-

(i) Preliminary Round - This House Believes That Imposing A Minimum Quota for Participation of Women in Parliament Will Not Help Achieve Gender Equality

(ii) Semi Final Round - This House Believes That Traditional Gender Roles are Inherently Damaging to Social Equality

(iii) Final Round - This House Believes that Gender Equality Is A Myth

After a gruelling series of debates, INTI International University emerged as champion of the GEI Debate Competition 2015. Taylor's University followed closely as the runner-up. Patricia Chong Su Yiin of INTI International University was declared the Best Overall Debater while Joash Nicholas Ong of Taylor's University was named as the Best Debater in the Final Round.
AWL would like to congratulate all participants and hope that the students would continue to advocate for gender equality, be it within or outside campus.