Leadership renewal at the Syariah Court
Leadership renewal at the Syariah Court will see Ustaz Alfian Yasrif Kuchit, Senior President, stepping down after 30 September 2020 and Ms Guy Ghazali taking on the appointment on 1 October 2020.
27 July 2020
- The Senior President of the Syariah Court (SYC), Ustaz Alfian Yasrif Kuchit, will step down after 30 September 2020. Ms Guy Ghazali will understudy Ustaz Alfian as Senior President-designate from 1 August 2020 and take on the appointment of Senior President on 1 October 2020.
- Ustaz Alfian, 42, has been seconded from Muis to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) since 2009. He first served as President of SYC from 2011 to 2014. Following a policy stint in MCCY, Ustaz Alfian became SYC’s third Senior President in 20171. As his secondment ends on 1 October 2020, Ustaz Alfian will step down as Senior President and return to Muis. Ustaz Alfian will continue to serve as an ad-hoc President of the SYC, while pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
- Mufti of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Nasir, expressed his appreciation to Ustaz Alfian, “Ustaz Alfian has led the Syariah Court with distinction as the first Senior President trained in both Muslim and civil law. As an expert in the practice of Muslim family law, Ustaz Alfian has advanced this field and strived to achieve fair and just outcomes. I am pleased to know that he will continue to serve in the SYC as an ad-hoc President as well as contribute in developing religious expertise amongst asatizah in the practice of Muslim family law.”
- It is important to ensure that asatizah who are trained in both Muslim and civil law helm the SYC as the needs of our Muslim families evolve and divorces become more complex. Hence to strengthen the SYC, MCCY is working with Muis to develop such expertise amongst current and future asatizah who can excel in the Muslim family development career track2. Some asatizah have already embarked on civil law degrees and will complete their legal training in a few years. As a transitional arrangement, a civil judge with experience in Muslim family law will be appointed to lead the SYC and mentor the pool of asatizah to be future SYC judges.
- Ms Guy Ghazali, 38, will be the new Senior President of the Syariah Court. She is a Legal Service Officer in the Singapore Legal Service, and currently a District Judge and Assistant Registrar in the Family Justice Courts. She will be posted to MCCY on 1 August 2020 as Senior President-designate and will take over as Senior President on 1 October 2020. She has served on the Appeal Board that hears appeals against decisions made by the Syariah Court or the Registry of Muslim Marriages. Prior to joining the Family Justice Courts, she was a litigation lawyer in private practice, principally practising in the area of family law, which included cases heard in the Syariah Court and the Appeal Board. While in practice, she was a member of the Law Society of Singapore’s Muslim Law Practice Committee, Family Law Practice Committee and Probate Practice Committee.
- On the appointment of Ms Guy to succeed him, Ustaz Alfian said, “Ms Guy’s appointment signals the Government’s commitment towards strengthening the Syariah Court. I welcome the appointment, as I am confident that her skills, abilities and network of contacts can help facilitate greater collaboration and partnership between the Syariah Court and other agencies. Families undergoing divorce face one of the toughest moments in their lives. As such, Syariah Court presidents should be conscious of the real-world impact that their decisions have on the lives of these families. For this reason, the Syariah Court must continue to be open to leaders like Ms Guy who can bring new perspectives and life experiences towards the administration of the law.”
- Mufti of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Nasir, also said, “I fully support the plan for Syariah Court judges to be trained in both Muslim law and civil family law because the judiciary is a complex institution that requires a high level of expertise in various disciplines. With her depth of knowledge of the Singapore legal system and her experience in Muslim family law through her work in the Appeal Board, I am confident that Ms Guy Ghazali is well placed to lead the Syariah Court as well as develop our asatizah who can be future Syariah Court judges. I look forward to working with her and the Syariah Court team to further advance the practice of Muslim family law in accordance with the principles and progressive values of Islamic jurisprudence.”
The profiles of the outgoing and incoming Senior President can be found in Annex A.
The full list of presidents and ad-hoc presidents of the Syariah Court can be found in Annex B.
1 The first two Senior Presidents were Ustaz Sallim Jasman (1999 – 2006) and Ustaz Mohamad Haji Rais (2006 – 2017).
2 There are 5 career tracks for asatizah in the religious sector – (1) Religious Policy & Development, (2) Education, (3) Mosque & Community Development, (4) Muslim Family Development, (5) Religious Services.