Women Appointed Judges in Malaysia’s Sharia High Court

Noor Huda Roslan &
Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin

For the first time in history, two women take their rightful seat as judges on Malaysia’s Syariah (Malay for Sharia) high court. Noor Huda Roslan, 40, and Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin, 41, are making history as they take on powerful roles allowing them to elevate the voices of Muslim women across Malaysia. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies and Psychology, and International and Comparative Legal Studies respectively, these two women couldn’t be more qualified for their positions. The appointment of two women to the high court comes at a time of rising conservative narratives in Malaysia. Historically, the country has followed a rather moderate practice and application of Sharia law, however, current public discourse show that more and more Malaysian citizens are adopting conservative attitudes, and applying Sharia law in its most harsh standards. In the face of such distorted practices of Sharia law, Judge Shuhaidah sees it as more imperative now than ever before to pass judgment fairly and, of course, justly. The only way to ensure this is to maintain a bench of judges flush with diversity. Judge Shuhaidah promised to take the opportunity to protect women and their rights. In her interview with BBC, Shuhidah presented her expertise on equitable marriage and child custody laws. Her approach to complex cases which involve polygamy or child abuse takes on an equitable practice. The appointment of Judge Roslan and Judge Shuhaidah not only comes as a beacon of hope for women’s rights, this historic change also signals an increase and need for female representation in the field of law.
(extracted from mysalaam.com)

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