Oon & Bazul LLP (“Oon & Bazul”), one of Singapore’s largest conflict-free law firms and leading commercial legal practice, is pleased to announce the launch of the Bazul Ashhab Bursary for Yayasan MENDAKI’s (“MENDAKI”) Education Trust Fund (“ETF”). Funded out-of-pocket in its entirety by Oon & Bazul Managing Partner Bazul Ashhab, the $40,000 donation pays out S$500 a year each to 80 deserving post-secondary Muslim students, to help cover a portion of their education expenses, over the next 4 years.
States Bazul: “The decision to assist was easy; what made it difficult was contributing in my name. Those who know me well understand that I am not one who enjoys the limelight nor have I ever been comfortable with the public knowledge that I actively help the underserved financially. This is a constant debate I have with myself.”
“In the years I have been helping tertiary students financially, I have had the pleasure of watching them graduate and step into society as contributing adults and scaling the Singapore economy to greater heights! For instance, Oon & Bazul has an ongoing commitment with Singapore Management University (SMU) to provide financial aid to law students – an initiative that resonates deeply with me. The Oon & Bazul Bursary, established in 2011, provides financial assistance to full-time law undergraduates, at SMU, who come from economically challenged backgrounds. With our newly-minted partnership with MENDAKI, I hope to further extend my role in bettering social mobility efforts in Singapore.”
With Singapore turning 56 recently, Bazul reflects on his journey as a self-made law firm co-founder and Managing Partner. From a humble 2-man practice, to 65 lawyers and 110 staff today, Bazul’s story and success is only made possible because of opportunities available to and for all Singaporeans who are prepared to work hard regardless of one’s colour or creed – a strong testament to Singapore’s meritocratic ideals. Civic to work hard regardless of one’s colour or creed – a strong testament to Singapore’s meritocratic ideals. Civic system in which its people are moving upwards on the social ladder.
However, Singaporeans can and must work harder to keep mobility going, which requires intervention from early in life to help people do well for themselves. Our nation will have to sustain its efforts in striving to provide as much opportunities as possible, while making sure that the path towards social elevation remains perpetually unhindered, and that it never stops. The Singapore story is about social mobility and meritocracy. It is about how this country was built. It is about our ancestors who left faraway lands to build a future for the next generation. It is what makes us special as a people. As a lawyer and entrepreneur, I continue to build Oon & Bazul as a leading independent Singaporean law firm.
Bazul chimes in on his personal growth development in the course of his lifetime: “I would not have arrived at my station in life without the opportunities in education and mentorship that was provided by professionals of higher social and career standing. These individuals of power took a great leap of faith and pointed me in the right direction. I come from a humble background, and despite not taking the usual pathway to becoming a lawyer, through the support and encouragement of others and the love of my family, I was given multiple chances in life which allowed me to be a successful lawyer and build a successful practice that is today, one of the largest independent and conflict-free law firms in Singapore. Since the last 20 years, I readily give my name so as to lead others in similar situations to have the confidence to achieve more than I have done. I do this gladly and with an open heart.”
The MENDAKI Education Trust Fund was first initiated in 2002 to provide financial assistance to low-income Muslim students. Madam Zuraidah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of MENDAKI, welcomes the move: “The disbursement is going to be of great help to many Muslim parents wanting to see their teenage children excel in their studies. Having Bazul join our list of institutional donors will greatly help improve the well-being of our beneficiaries. I expect to see more Muslim students become productive citizens in the near future. I am sure the community will benefit from his involvement.”
Adds Bazul: “Today, in a very small way, I am helping Muslim students pay for part of their education. This means they can better focus on their studies and not worry about finances. I have the deepest respect for MENDAKI’s efforts and contribution to the community and am happy to play a humble role to assist where I can. To further help Muslim students who have ambitions in taking up legal studies and practice upon graduation, I have mandated my law firm to continue on an active path of allowing for as many internships and practice traineeships opportunities, where possible.”