Senator wants compulsory pre-wedding course for non-Muslims too

KUALA LUMPUR: A senator has proposed that a marriage course be made compulsory for non-Muslims wishing to tie the knot, saying it would help address the rising number of divorces.

Aknan Ehtook (PH-PPBM), the sole representative for the Siamese community in the Dewan Negara, said non-Muslim couples were currently learning by mistakes.

“Mistakes in a marriage may range from small ones with no adverse effect, to those which could lead to an ugly divorce,” he told Dewan Negara yesterday.

He said couples should be taught about their rights, duties and responsibilities in a marriage.

Aknan said the government-funded course “SmartStart” through select NGOs was “virtually inexistent” because it was voluntary.

He urged the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to make pre-wedding courses compulsory for all, and not only for Muslims.

He said HIV tests should be also made mandatory for couples planning to get married.

In response, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said the government does not plan to make pre-wedding courses compulsory for non-Muslims.

But she said said the National Registration Department would encourage couples registering their marriage to enrol for the SmartStart course.