Islamic Development Department proposes to streamline Syariah laws on polygamy

The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has proposed to streamline Syariah laws on polygamy practised in various states in the country.

Jakim Director-General Datuk Haji Mohd Shahir Abdullah said it is in the process of seeking solutions towards the proposal which would be made to the Syariah Court administration for an amendment.

The amendment would include the views and opinions of the wife or wives for consideration before an application by a Muslim man to take another wife could be granted, he said here. Datuk Mohd Shahir who was here to attend the 61st Heads of State Religious Councils Conference said the existing wife or wife should be consulted before the husband takes a new wife or he should allow the Syariah Court to make the necessary consideration after hearing the views from both spouses.

He said some States do not have the provision for the husband to request permission from his spouse before marrying another.

On another note, Datuk Mohd Shahir said Jakim had considered setting up a special institution or centre for elderly Muslims providing them with a conducive living environment for the rest of their lives on a nationwide scale. This idea is among the main issues to be discussed at the meeting.

He said although old folks affairs are placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development, there have been requests for similar centres for the elderly Muslims. With the establishment of such centers, programmes for the Muslim inmates would be structured. Datuk Mohd Shahir noted that there are about three million old folks in Malaysia, with the Muslims on almost equal ratio with the non-Muslims.

Therefore, the responsibility for providing them with a more conducive place is important.

Meanwhile, opening the conference, Head of State Datuk Ahmad Shah Abdullah wanted Syariah administration in religious departments to expand their scope towards family development and community welfare apart from the routine procedures of marriage, divorce and reconciliation.