The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's (Muis) board of appeal for 2014 and 2015 was officially appointed at a ceremony at the Singapore Islamic Hub on Friday. The board hears appeals against the decisions of the Syariah court and the Registry of Muslim Marriages.
The 21-member panel - which is made up of lawyers, district judges and legal scholars- will serve a two-year term till Dec 31 next year. Board members were appointed by president Tony Tan Keng Yam on Muis' advice, and will deal with issues like the custody of minors and the division of matrimonial property after divorce.
From time to time, three people will be chosen from the panel by the Muis president to sit on an ad-hoc board to handle appeals. In 2013, 54 appeals and applications for leave to appeal were filed. On average, explained Muis, most appeals are heard within four to six weeks after a record of appeal is filed.
In 2008 - for the first time in the board's history - three women were appointed to the appeal board, till then an all-male affair. In the latest appointment, four women are on the board.
"Their appointment is testament that the practise of Muslim law in Singapore is progressive," said Muis in a press statement. "It also ensures that the appeal board has the requisite expertise needed from a woman's perspective, apart from their contributions through their qualifications and expertise in their own respective fields."