Singapore's first female Syariah Court registrar steps down at age 70

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first female Syariah Court registrar will relinquish her position after more than a decade in the service.

Madam Animah Abdul Gani, 70, will step down from her post with effect from Saturday (Jan 13), said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in a statement on Friday .

Madam Animah officially retired from the Legal Service in 2000 but in May 2007, became the Syariah Court's first female registrar and its third since the post was created in 1999.

In a private event held on Thursday to honour her contributions, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said: "Madam Animah has had a long and impressive career. She could have remained in private practice after her retirement from the Legal Service, but she chose to work at the Syariah Court instead.

"As registrar, she played an important role in the fair and efficient administration of Muslim family law and was instrumental in overseeing many improvements."

The Syariah Court was constituted in 1958 and has the jurisdiction to hear cases that concern marriage, divorce, and related matters under the provisions of Muslim law.

Madam Animah started her career at the Attorney-General's Chambers after graduating from the University of Singapore in 1972. In her three decades in government service, she worked in many positions, including as Head of Legal Services at the Ministry of National Development and Deputy Official Assignee.

At her retirement, she was the deputy director of the Legal Aid Bureau. After she stopped working for the Government, she set up a law firm in private practice.

The statement said during her tenure, she was instrumental in overseeing changes made in the 2008 Administration of Muslim Law amendments, a key change of which was to raise the minimum age for marriage from 16 to 18 years old.

Taking over her role is Madam Shahrinah Abdol Salam, 39, the current deputy registrar. Madam Shahrinah will be appointed concurrently as ad hoc president for a two-year term.

Madam Masayu Norashikin Mohamad Amin, 41, will be the new deputy registrar taking over Madam Shahrinah's portfolio. She was previously a district judge and an assistant registrar at the Family Justice Courts.

Madam Animah said at the reception: "I am grateful for the privilege to serve and I welcome the new appointees. I am especially proud of them as this signals the diversity of talent in our community."