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MCCY Honours Two Syariah Court Presidents

29 June 2017

1. The Senior President Ustaz Mohamad Haji Rais and President Zainol Abeedin Hussin of the Syariah Court (SYC) will step down on 30 June 2017. Ustaz Alfian Yasrif Kuchit will take on the appointment of Senior President on 1 July 2017. This was announced today at an appreciation ceremony organised by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

2. Ustaz Mohamad, 70, started his civil service career with SYC as a counsellor in 1985. He rose through the ranks and became SYC’s second Senior President on 9 September 20061. During his tenure, SYC enhanced its court processes and strengthened its marriage counselling programme. Under his leadership, SYC also encouraged its marriage counselling agencies to tap on the expertise of asatizah who could provide religious perspectives. Ustaz Mohamad was also instrumental in strengthening SYC’s social support programmes to safeguard the welfare of children impacted by their parents’ divorce.

3. Ustaz Mohamad sits on the interview panel that selects Naib Kadis2 and serves as a member of the Religious Rehabilitation Group as well as on the appeal panel of the Asatizah Recognition Board. The Registrar of Muslim Marriages, Ustaz Syed Ahmad Syed Mohamed said, “I have known Ustaz Mohamad Rais for more than 40 years. He is a caring and generous person who is always willing to help. I first met him when I was a student at Al Azhar University in Cairo. As our senior, he was always there to assist us in our studies. I am happy to have had the opportunity to work closely with him on matters related to the administration of Muslim marriages and divorces. He has helmed the Syariah Court with a steady hand and unwavering dedication and I deeply appreciate his contributions to the Muslim community and Singapore.”

4. Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram also extended words of appreciation, “Ustaz Mohamad exemplifies the spirit of tireless service. Even after his retirement, I am pleased to know that he will continue to teach and give sermons at our local mosques. Ustaz Mohamad is an erudite scholar who has written two books on Islamic theology. I hope he will continue writing so that more people can benefit from his wisdom and insights.”

5. Mr Zainol Abeedin Hussin, 71, was a District Judge from 1984 to 2004. Whilst serving at the civil court, Mr Zainol Abeedin also served the community as an ad-hoc SYC President and as a member of the Appeal Board3. He subsequently joined SYC as a full-time President on 28 June 2007. Mr Zainol Abeedin spearheaded the publication of the first two editions of the Singapore Syariah Appeals Report (SSAR) – the official record on landmark decisions delivered by the Appeal Board. The SSAR is a key source of reference for the practice of Muslim family law in Singapore, and is vital to the promotion and advancement of Islamic jurisprudence here.

6. Mr Zainol Abeedin also served as a MUIS Council member from 2013 - 2016. Chief Executive of MUIS, Mr Abdul Razak Maricar said: “Mr Zainol is an expert on Muslim family law as practiced in Singapore. Both the Syariah Court and the Appeal Board have benefitted immensely from his long and distinguished judicial career at the civil courts as well as the depth of his knowledge of the Singapore legal system. During his term at the MUIS Council, Mr Zainol provided invaluable advice on statutory matters.”

7. Ustaz Alfian Yasrif Kuchit, 39, will be the new Senior President. He is seconded from Muis to the then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2009 and continues his secondment with MCCY. He served as President of SYC from 2011 to 2014. Ustaz Alfian received his tertiary education in Syariah and law from the International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur and his Master of Laws from the Columbia University, New York.


Annexes

The biodata of the retiring presidents and the 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.

Annex A: Biodata of Retiring President and Incoming Senior President

Annex B: List of Presidents and Ad-hoc Presidents of the Syariah Court



1 The first Senior President was Ustaz Sallim Jasman who served from 10 August 1999 to 8 September 2006.

2 Naib Kadis are persons appointed under Section 91 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act to solemnize and register Muslim marriages.

3 The Appeal Board, constituted under section 55 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act, is the sole appellate tribunal on Muslim family law in Singapore and hears appeals against the decisions made by the Syariah Court or Registry of Muslim Marriages.  

Last Updated: 05 October 2017

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