The number of divorce cases rose to 593 last year, from 409 in 2021. This figure shows the worrying trend indicating the collapse of the family institution.
This was said by Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar at the annual Syariah Court gathering yesterday.
He said the trend is a sign that new couples are not taking heed of Syara’ law where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah the Almighty is divorce.”
The chief syar’ie judge said the most common reasons for divorce are: the lack of understanding between the couple; financial factors; husband failing to provide allowance; family interference; the wife refusing polygamy; and domestic violence.
Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim said divorce unauthorised by the court is still taking place, with 187 cases identified in 2021-2022.
It shows that divorce without the court’s approval is taken lightly and the punishment and the laws are disrespected. The chief syar’ie judge said current laws are intended to prevent husbands from arbitrarily issuing talaq (repudiation) without considering the consequences of the act.
Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim said talaq may result in disputable legal status of husband and wife; birth of illegitimate child; and excessive talaq issuances.
He reminded that a divorce without the court’s permission is an offence under Chapter 217 of the Islamic Family Law Act, where if found guilty, can be fined BND2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.
The chief syar’ie judge urged the Judicial Management and the Research Division to step up efforts to prosecute unauthorised divorces to ensure the laws are respected.
Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim also suggested conducting a study, in collaboration with third parties to find the causes of husbands issuing talaq and find solutions to the issue.
The chief syar’ie judge said Mal (claims or requests for court order) cases numbered 2,473 in 2022 compared to 1,213 in 2021 while the number criminal cases at the Syariah Court of Appeal last year was three compared to two in the previous year. Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Salim also said lashes (takzir) were meted out to two cases for adultery.
Yesterday’s event saw the presentation of certificates to members of the Syariah Court, who participated in sports programmes.
There was also a presentation of service appreciation awards to Rosnah binti Haji Julay, Razalie bin Haji Abu Bakar and Sulaiman bin Haji Abdul Ghani.
The event also saw a presentation of awards to the court’s members for the COVID-19 initiatives.