We refer to this article: https://m.malaysiakini.com/
Sisters in Islam welcomes the move to set up a court specifically to handle Muslim marriage, hadhanah and nafkah issues. We hope that the establishment of this court will not only expedite the cases currently backlogged at the Syariah courts, but also result in more responsible and fairer judgements which takes into account the welfare of the entire family especially the children.
Telenisa, a free legal clinic operated by SIS, received 576 clients last year with regards to various marriage issues. Among some of the complaints that the helpline received is that judgements were made without consideration of evidence provided by our clients, that judgements were made without the attendance of the client, and non-compliance issues. It is also not uncommon for a client to be caught in the cycle of having to go to and fro the Syariah courts for many years.
Serious consideration must be given to cases where the lives of family members are endangered especially when they are accompanied by supporting orders such as IPOs. In 2018, over 25% of marriage breakdowns handled by Telenisa were a result of domestic violence, sexual violence and substance abuse.
In 2018, Telenisa received 71 cases involving Hadhanah (child custody) with the most prevalent issue being custody disputes (56.3%). Custody disputes are some of the worst cases handled as some parents resort to abducting children from their custodian. Telenisa noted eight cases of child abduction in 2018.
Nafkah (maintenance) is one of the main issues handled by Telenisa with 75 cases handled concerning the wife’s nafkah and 267 cases concerning the children’s nafkah. As such, SIS welcomes the initiative by the new court to freeze the assets of ex-husbands who default on their nafkah payments. It is important that court orders are adhered to and enforced swiftly.
We hope that the government will continue to develop policies and methods to safeguard the children’s welfare in the event of a marriage breakdown, and that this is held with utmost priority.
18 March 2019
Sisters in Islam