Panel to look into a court for maintenance cases

Federal minister Mujahid Yusof said a special court would reduce the number of recalcitrant husbands who refuse to pay maintenance to their divorced wives.

PARIT BUNTAR: The Cabinet has approved forming a committee to look into the setting up of a special court to handle maintenance and child custody cases in Islamic marriages.

Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the minister handling Islamic affairs, said the committee would study all aspects of the proposal to set up a Special Court on Marriages, Hadhanah (child custody) and Nafkah (maintenance).

The committee will be chaired by Mohamad Naim Mokhtar, the director-general of the Malaysian Shariah Judiciary Department.

Mujahid said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of the committee, which will hold talks with several interested parties, including Bank Negara and the Employees Provident Fund, as any penalty imposed by the court would involve monetary transactions.

“Laws relating to Bank Negara and EPF might be amended to allow bank accounts of husbands to be frozen in order to pay maintenance,” he told reporters after an Aidilfitri celebration at his constituency of Parit Buntar.

Mujahid said the discussions by the committee are expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

The initiative to form the special court would mean marriage and divorce cases filed with the shariah courts would be resolved faster.

It would also help reduce the number of cases involving recalcitrant husbands who refuse to pay maintenance to their wives.

In a separate development, Mujahid urged all parties not to politicise the issue of the 10,000 special haj quota as this was the prerogative of the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

“The quota is King Salman’s right, whether he wants to give or not to give. It is not an issue regarding the new (current) government as the previous government (under Barisan Nasional) also did not get the quota from 2014 to 2017.

“The issue of the haj quota is now at the highest level, with King Salman, and not at the ministerial level.

“Usually, King Salman will give the quota at the last minute and we pray we will get the quota as it would be an opportunity for potential pilgrims who are still waiting for their turn and who have appealed,” he said.