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Telenisa Celebrates 20 Years of Serving Muslim Women on Their Rights in the Family 2003 – 2023

The year 2023 marks a significant milestone for Telenisa, a legal hotline service under Sisters in Islam (SIS) as it celebrates 20 years in service! Since 2003, Telenisa has helped 15,000 women by providing free legal consultation on Islamic Family Law and Syariah Criminal Offences Law.

Telenisa’s journey began when Sisters in Islam (SIS) was given a weekly column in Utusan Malaysia, allowing them to address the overwhelming questions and inquiries regarding Islamic Family Law. Recognising the need to offer a specialised platform for Muslim women to know their rights and seek advice on Syariah Court procedures and processes, Telenisa was established to provide free legal consultation on Islamic Family Law. This was extended to  Syariah Criminal Offences law, much later.

Since its inception, Telenisa has evolved and expanded its services beyond telephone and face-to-face consultations by providing accessibility through emails and Facebook messaging responding to the needs of the clients for convenience, safety and comfort. WhatsApp messaging was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown and video calls consultation was introduced subsequently to ensure continuity of the service for those seeking legal assistance.

This milestone is also celebrated with the launch of Telenisa: Statistics and Findings 2022, a booklet published annually since 2016 that reveals insights on issues women experienced with matters pertaining to Islamic Family Law.

In 2022, Telenisa showed an upward trend in the number of clients with a total of 431 clients, 148 of them are returning clients and 283 new clients. This trend proves that Telenisa continues to be a relevant source to those who seek information and advice regarding Islamic Family Law. 

Highlights from Telenisa: Statistics and Findings 2022:

Telenisa: Statistics and Findings 2022 report sheds light on three critical issues regarding Islamic Family Law:

  • Urgent need for a support counter at the Syariah Court: Out of a total of 431 clients, 99% of them approached Telenisa without legal representation, with 81% of them requiring legal aid and legal advice from Telenisa. Out of the total number of Telenisa clients, 71% were those from the B40 group thus, indicating the pressing need for more support for them to get access to justice. One example is the need for a support counter at the Syariah Court operated by trained officers to provide guidance to the general public in finalising the documents required for court. This is to ensure a friendly, comfortable and efficient experience to those who need to go through the Syariah Court procedures.
  • Issue of maintenance: Inquiries about maintenance claims rose even towards the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 66% of Telenisa’s clients seeking guidance on the procedures to make a maintenance claim. About 50% of the maintenance cases were related to insufficient maintenance. The percentage of unemployed husbands rose to 28% in 2022 as compared to 10% in 2021. This has also caused a rise in the percentage of wives not receiving maintenance from 1% in 2021 to 3% in 2022. The issue of unresolved maintenance will directly affect the family’s economy and daily lives. Hence, Telenisa emphasises the urgent need for the government to embark on a long-term study to understand the consequences of insufficient maintenance on families and what are the policies necessary to be in place and implemented to get them out from the cycle of poverty. Additionally, policy initiatives should be introduced at the grassroots and community levels to address social issues and economic hardships.
  • Child custody disputes and child’s nationality issue: While child custody disputes revealed a decline to 0% in 2022 from 1% in 2021 and 52% in 2020, however, parental child abduction rose from 9% in 2020 to 29% in 2021 and slightly subsided to 24% in 2022. From this data, parents seem to take a riskier approach which violates rights and laws. Furthermore, the report also highlighted a new issue in 2022 which concerns the registration of a child’s nationality with 14% of cases. The issue of a child’s nationality needs to be addressed urgently to safeguard children born in Malaysia and children with one Malaysian parent, regardless of their place of birth, to ensure they have the right to a Malaysian citizenship.

For 20 years, Telenisa has remained dedicated and steadfast to providing assistance to those in need and highlighting lived realities that have been affecting society. The data collected and published give a better understanding of the many challenges that spouses face in a marriage thus, becoming an advocacy channel for policymakers. Telenisa takes pride in this achievement and continues to strive to provide the best for those in need.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) expresses profound gratitude to all those who have supported Telenisa’s services and contributed to the preparation and publication of the Telenisa Statistics and Findings 2022 booklet over the last two decades. We extend our deepest thanks over the years to the Australian High Commission, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Friedrich Neuman Foundation, Lee Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, and, most especially to Yayasan Sime Darby. We would also like to extend our thank you to the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centres through their Chambering Internship programme, for their invaluable support. Last but finally not least, we also extend our heartfelt appreciation to the generous Malaysian public and individuals who have donated, enabling Telenisa to serve as a reliable source of information for those seeking guidance to claim their rights in the family.

*Download the Telenisa: Statistics and Findings 2021 booklet and infographic here:

*Telenisa can be reached at 012-812 3424 and accepts face-to-face consultations on appointment basis, phone calls, video calls and WhatsApp every day from Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.