In reference to The Star report, ‘Man Fined for Marrying Sisters’, on 21 March 2007, SIS wishes to reiterate our call for the introduction of a computerised system of registration of Muslim marriages and divorces in every state which should be linked to a national network. This is to enable the religious authorities and individuals of any state to retrieve information regarding the applicant’s marital status.
In cases where applicants for marriage have lied about their marital status, the religious authorities should withhold their marriage applications and they should be immediately prosecuted for false declaration.
In our memoranda to the government in 1997 i.e. Memorandum on Reform of the Islamic Family Laws and the Administration of Justice in the Syariah System in Malaysia on January 4, 1997 and Memorandum on the Provisions in the Syariah Criminal Offences Act and Fundamental Liberties on 8 August 1997, SIS has expressed our grave concern at the absence of coordinated information on the marital status of Muslims in Malaysia.
There have been many cases where women found out only after the marriage that their husbands already have existing wives. In this particular case, the religious authorities should have checked the husband’s marital status before approving his second marriage to his wife’s sister.
SIS regrets that the 1996 announcement made by JAKIM to make the first step to link the registry of Muslim marriages and divorces in the Federal Territories, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan has not materialised 10 years later.
Sisters in Islam
21 March 2007