Malaysian Syariah High Court judge named in BBC’s list of world’s 100 most inspiring women

Judge Nenney Shuhaidah Binti Shamsuddin (left) was appointed a Syariah High Court judge in 2016.
Selangor Syariah Judiciary Department (JAKESS)
  • Nenney Shuhaidah Binti Shamsuddin is the only Malaysian woman to be included in a list of 100 influential women compiled by the BBC.

  • She’s a 42-year-old Syariah High Court judge and mother-of-three.

  • Judge Nenny has a master’s degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and has worked in Putrajaya’s Syariah Judiciary Department.

A 42-year-old Syriah court judge is the only Malaysian woman to be included in a list of this year’s 100 most inspiring and influential women complied by the BBC.

The women hail from over 60 countries and are aged between 15 and 94.

Included in the list was Nenney Shuhaidah Binti Shamsuddin, one of the country’s two female Syariah High Court judges.

“Nenney fights for the protection of Muslim women in her courts and wants to change the negative perceptions of Sharia law,” the BBC wrote on the 100 Women 2018 site.

Judge Nenny was appointed Syariah High Court judge for Selangor in 2016, according to the Selangor Syariah Judiciary Department.

For Judge Nenny – who, according to The Star, holds a bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies, a diploma in the Administration of Islamic Judiciary and Syariah, and a master’s degree in psychology from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia – finding a job was initially tough.

Even to be a Syariah Court officer was quite difficult for women because they preferred men,” Al Jazeera quoted her as saying in a 2017 article.

Malaysia’s Syariah – or  Islamic law – courts deal with family or morality cases pertaining to Muslim citizens. While several religious scholars have argued that women cannot be Syariah Court judges under Islamic law, Malaysia passed a religious edict allowing it in 2006, Al Jazeera reported.

The first two female Syariah Court judges were then appointed in 2010, according to a New York Times report.

Judge Nenny, currently a mother-of-three, subsequently worked as a lawyer in a legal aid office, then took up a role in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Al Jazeera said.

She also worked in Putrajaya’s Syariah Judiciary Department for three years, the Star reported.

Other Asian women on the BBC 100 Women 2018 list include Chinese singer G.E.M., Lao Khang, Laos’s first licensed Hmong rugby coach, and Setsuko Takamizawa, a 90-year-old Japanese retiree learning English for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Read also: The last superhero Stan Lee unveiled before he died was based on Chinese mega pop star G.E.M – here’s what we know