Tania Jayatilaka shares an eye-opening conversation with Malaysia’s first female Shariah High Court judge, Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin, the only Malaysian named on the BBC’s 100 Women List in 2018
While many of us long to be part of the moment when history is made, one lawyer found herself right in the centre of one such momentous occasion when, in June of 2016, she was appointed as the nation’s first female Shariah High Court judge, together with one other female official, Noor Huda Roslan. Those in legal circles and anyone following matters of Shariah (or Islamic law) in Malaysia would recognise her name, Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin. If the news of her appointment didn’t come as a shock to her colleagues in the Legal Aid Department of Selangor, where she worked for five years, the impact it left in her own life was nothing short of transformational.
“My ambition was always to be lawyer; I wanted to be able to help poorer people in society who couldn’t afford to pay legal fees,” Nenney shares. “At the time, there were no opportunities for women to become Shariah Court judges.”
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