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SeminarKaunselingKeluarga2008

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DIVORCEINMALAYSIA
SamuelChanHsinChlen, MohamedSarifMustaffa
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FacultyofEducation,UniversityTechnologyMalaysia 81310Skudai,Johor.
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info@samchan.com, mohamed_sharifutm@yahoo.com ABSTRACT People have always heard about the high divorce rate in foreign countries however, many might not receive much information about divorce in Malaysia. In fact, it might due to complicatedlegalprocedureindivorcebecausethelegalprocessofdivorceiscomplicatedin Malaysia. Furthermore, causes and effects in divorce also merely study by many psychologists and counselors in Malaysia. This paper is, therefore, going to utilize two interesting reports from National Registration Department and Jabatan Kemajuan Islam MalaysiatoanalyzedivorcesituationinMalaysia.Fromthesematerials,researcherswilltryto find out in what situation the divorce was, in Malaysia? Besides, this paper is searching additionalinformationindivorcetoanswerWhycoupledivorce?Besides, thepaperisalso going to search some impacts of divorce, and is there any prevention program to reduce divorceinMalaysia. INTRODUCTION Although many have believed that divorce was not a social norm or a common practice in Malaysiastraditionalfamily,unfortunately,steppingintonewmillennium,thishasseemedlike a social trend to permeate Malaysia. In fact, the word divorce is also understood as Dissolution of Marriage in legal term because the activity cannot come without having a legalmarriage.Therefore,underMalaysiaLawReformonMarriageandDivorceAct1976,no oneisallowedtomarriageanotherpersonwhenalawfulmarriedisstillvalid. InMalaysia,ifanyoneelsewhocannotobtainadivorcebecausetheyhavenotbeenmarried for 24 months or more,they can onlyconsiderfilinga Judicial Separation. However, judicial separationdoesnotlegallyendamarriage,andduringtheperiodofseparation,bothparties cannot remarry. The only legal obligation for judicial separation is when the court grants a decreeofjudicialseparation,thepetitionerisnolongerobligedtolivewithhis/herspouse,but thepetitionerstillrequiretofileapetitionfordivorceafteradecreeofseparationisgranted. For those who marriage for at least 24 months and found their marriage has broken down irretrievably, a divorce is necessary to bring the relationship to a formal end. This action is provided when partner has committed adultery, behaved unreasonably in term of his or her behaviorandhowthishasupsetthecounterpartandmadeitdifficultforhimorhertocarryon livingtogether,oroneofthepartnerhave beenseparatedordesertedanotherforatleast2 yearsbeforestarteddivorceproceedings. Whenwelookatallthiscomplicatedlegalprocedure,onethingisclearthatdivorceis,infact, notonlyamatterbetweenhusbandandwife,butitisalsobearinglegalresponsibility.There istosay,whenamanandawomenhavecometoasituationtosayGoodBye,bothofthem need to understand at least some legal responsibilities. Unfortunately, each year, there are many couples tried to file divorce without having thorough understanding about their legal responsibility from their legal advisor, needless to say social responsibility or other side effects. Inthispaper,weare,therefore,tryingtosearchtheanswerabouthowdivorcehadhappened in Malaysia,why divorce had happened, what are some impacts that will influence afamily, andinwhatwaycanacommunity facilitatestopreventdivorce.

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RESEARCHOBJECTIVE Inthispaper,wefinditisinterestingtoknowwhatkindofdivorcesituationinMalaysia.Very often, we received reports about some places like the United Stated, Canada, Australia, or even our neighbor countries discussing their divorce rate nonetheless, how well does we knowaboutMalaysiadivorcesituationandwhatfactorscontributedheavilyindivorce? Although it is not easy to interview every divorcee or distribute questionnaire to every divorcee, it is possible for us to get information from Malaysian National Registration DepartmentaboutthefigureofnonMuslimmarriageanddivorce.ForMuslim,theinformation canberetrievedfromJabatanKemajuanIslamMalaysia.Withthesepiecesofinformation,it mayguidethewholeresearchtowardindepthfindingaboutthecausesandeffectsindivorce. RESEARCHQUESTION ThefirstquestionthatcomestoourmindishowseriousthedivorcerateinMalaysia?Hopely wecangetaninsightaboutthedivorcerateinMalaysiafromMalaysianNationalRegistration DepartmentandJabatanKemajuanIslamMalaysia. The second question is Why couple divorce? Just wondering how many of us ever think abouttwoloversholdinghandinhand and saying Idoinfrontoftheirfriendsandrelatives but suddenly filed a divorce after several years of marriage. What are some reasons that madethemfeltthismarriagehasbrokendownirretrievably? Thefinal questionwill bethe causes and effects of divorce. After successfully divorce,what impacts in life will both divorcees receive? What types of impact a family will receive in divorce?Inwhatwaycanacommunityfacilitatetopreventorreducedivorce? RESEARCHOUTCOME StatisticAnalysis From Malaysian National Registration Department, we understand that the divorce rate between2000and2005wasstayedbetween2.6%to7.19%amongnonMuslim(asshownin Table1and2): Table1:TotalNumberofNonMuslimMarriagesCouplesbyState,20002005 State HeadOffice Johor Kedah Kelantan Melaka N.Sembilan Pahang Perak Perlis PulauPinang Selangor Terengganu WPKualaLumpur WPLabuan Sabah Sarawak 2000 3,655 9,842 2,736 376 1,729 2,338 1,527 6,990 236 5,385 7,786 89 9,181 89 2,872 4,699 2001 3,413 8,625 2,800 429 1,713 2,496 1,526 7,127 227 5,088 4,498 104 7,924 107 2,956 4,422 2002 3,538 8,627 2,674 400 1,792 2,313 1,472 7,557 242 6,603 4,988 73 10,839 111 3,326 2,717 2003 3,891 8,754 2,710 380 1,825 2,423 1,655 7,952 250 6,535 4,792 94 9,423 121 3,210 3,520 2004 3,156 6,918 2,458 276 1,686 2,236 1,428 5,927 206 4,827 4,731 140 5,655 79 2,997 5,400 2005 2,258 8,158 2,511 378 1,547 2,399 1,319 5,991 215 4,342 5,291 118 7,201 116 3,163 5,328

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Foreigncountries* Total

1,760

1,562

1,956

1,852

1,969

2,542

61,290 55,017 59,228 59,387 50,089 52,877

Note:*Malaysiancitizen(nonmuslim)marriedinforeigncountries Table2:TotalnumberofNonMuslimCouplesDivorcesbyState,20002005 State Johor Kedah Kelantan Melaka N.Sembilan Pahang Perak Perlis PulauPinang Selangor Terengganu WPKualaLumpur WPLabuan Sabah Sarawak Foreigncountries* Total 2000 25 26 7 60 51 79 209 74 271 320 34 196 3 105 144 9 1,613 2001 29 0 0 0 0 15 446 0 577 0 97 1,810 0 68 196 0 3,238 2002 321 14 0 2 30 15 646 0 887 620 48 810 0 68 286 46 3,793 2003 309 16 0 2 28 12 615 0 755 418 3 694 2 175 238 51 3,318 2004 3 0 11 16 56 25 978 0 490 728 0 707 0 135 139 3 3,291 2005 85 26 43 29 48 89 389 2 639 261 0 1,630 1 197 312 53 3,804

ThedivorcesituationamongMuslimishighcomparetononMuslim.Theratewasbetween 14.4%and15.5%(asshowninTable3): Table3:TotalNumberofMuslimMarriagesCouplesbyState,20002005 State Perlis Kedah PulauPinang Perak Selangor WPKualaLumpur N.Sembilan Melaka Johor Pahang Terengganu Kelantan Sarawak Sabah WPLabuan Total 2000 1,710 14,120 4,431 8,840 9,597 2,750 3,345 2,057 10,222 6,247 6,194 12,471 4,093 5,660 253 91,990 2001 1,275 14,886 3,764 9,124 10,990 3,122 3,491 2,251 6,289 6,323 6,641 12,389 4,804 5,528 244 91,121 2002 1,390 15,198 4,034 8,571 11,428 4,172 3,584 2,930 9,687 7,009 6,877 12,366 4,556 3,261 218 95,281 2003 1,351 16,735 3,226 8,247 12,314 4,531 3,488 3,067 10,510 7,521 5,965 13,205 4,333 7,112 237 101,842 2004 2,153 16,751 3,368 9,337 16,696 3,616 4,157 3,182 13,751 5,116 7,746 13,334 4,374 8,083 280 111,944 2005 1,615 17,147 3,488 10,522 13,175 4,230 4,206 3,210 14,747 6,120 7,731 13,943 5,015 5,514 288 110,951

Table4:TotalNumberofMuslimDivorcesCouplesbyState,20002005 State Perlis Kedah PulauPinang Perak Selangor WPKualaLumpur 2000 188 1,168 647 1,234 2,075 499 2001 186 1,549 717 1,103 1,878 721 2002 226 1,133 911 1,975 1,977 798 2003 253 1,085 925 1,363 3,158 885 2004 164 1,474 916 1,508 3,136 1,296 2005 228 1,737 875 1,475 3,029 1,250

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N.Sembilan Melaka Johor Pahang Terengganu Kelantan Sarawak Sabah WPLabuan Total

625 394 1,942 1,016 1,005 1,784 486 433 40 13,536

564 384 963 1,042 1,046 2,042 602 311 79 13,187

629 530 1,627 894 813 1,472 634 161 61 13,841

684 588 1,612 917 897 1,926 652 570 28 15,543

638 553 1,690 616 1,172 1,952 826 514 54 16,509

807 601 1,521 1,048 1,285 1,900 820 582 54 17,212

WhencombinednonMuslimandMuslimfigures,theresearchfoundthattheratewasgrown progressivelyfrom9.9%to12.8%(asshownbelow). Table5:DivorceRateinMalaysia,20002005 Types NonMuslim Muslim WithCombined 2000 2.63% 14.72% 9.88% 2001 5.89% 14.47% 11.24% 2002 6.40% 14.53% 11.41% 2003 5.59% 15.26% 11.70% 2004 6.57% 14.75% 12.22% 2005 7.19% 15.51% 12.83%

Fromtheresearch,wefoundthatthedivorcerateinMalaysiaseemsmallwhencompareto somedevelopedcountriesliketheUnitedStates(51%,1998),Australia(49%,1996),Canada (48%, 1995), and Germany (44%, 1997). Nonetheless, the divorce rates in Malaysia still botheredmostofresearchers. The reason to put into this statement was due to several factors. First of all, number of marriagefor nonMuslim between 2000 and 2005 has droppedwhile thenumber of divorce remainssteady.Second,thenumberofmarriageanddivorcewithinMuslimfairlystable,and thedivorceratewasgoingaccordingtotheproportion.However,fornonMuslim,thedivorce ratewasincreased. ReasonsofDivorce All these have enhance our curiosity of why couple divorce. Although figures never tell the reason,fromourcommonsense,weunderstandthatpeoplewillnotdivorcewithoutareason. Asintheresearch,thereisthedutyforustotakeacloselookonthisissue. Fromnumerousforeignliteraturesconcerningmarriageandfamily,itstatedthatthetopthree common factors that influenced divorce were 1) infidelity, 2) no longer in love, and 3) emotional problem. Others included drugs problems, sexual problems, problem with inlaw, communicationproblems,marriedtooyoung,jobconflict,andsoon. Of course, among all, top of the list is infidelity. For us, we have to understand that an infidelity means having sex with someone other than the marriage partner, or partner has committed adultery. Infact, the actual reason was notinthe action ofinfidelity, but it has to dealwithfaithandrespect.AgeneraldefinitionofMarriage,bySheri&BobStritof,isthatit is a social contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically and emotionally.Thatistosay,whenitisacontracteverybodyhastorespect.Whendealingwith emotion,marriedcouplehas toknowhowtomaintainahealthyfamilytogether.Itwillbean alarmingsignalforthemarriageifbothparties inthefamilyignoreit. The second high reason for divorce is No longer in love. In most cases, no longer in love was caused by marriage burnout. Some symptoms like with little emotional connection, disengaged relationship for partners to pay attention with. Nonetheless, people often stay marriedduetotheirchildren,theirreligiousvalues,orforeconomicreasons. The third reason for divorce is emotional problem. This has associated with violence. Very often, spouses attack each other verbally and physically, and the severe state involved domesticviolence.

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Some might question do all or any of these related to Malaysia perspective? Although we have no idea how many divorce cases really related to above reasons, we understand that evenall top rank reasons in divorcemight not stay alikeinMalaysia, yet itwill stillhave the opportunityactasthemajorfactors. ImpactsandPreventions The impact of divorce not only diminish our family value like the concept of fidelity, family dinner,feminism and so on, butit also created manynumerous problemslikefamily conflict andcommunitystability.Infact,thestrongestimpactindivorceischildreninthefamily,ifany. In one hand, children with divorced parents always experience poorer scores in term of academic achievement. The reason as believed that both parents and teachers often underestimate the difficulties a child may be having in school or may not recognize the problems. Besides,it appears that children's difficulties with schoolmay be caused more by their behavior than their intellectual abilities. Others impacts for children in divorced family included,separateanxiety,regressivebehavior,andsomaticcomplaintandsoon. For divorcee, some strongest impact included financial hardship, and become an overly involvement parent. In fact, when dealing with financial hardship, one upcoming question is howtofinance two separate households fromincome and assets which previously provided for only one.Furthermore, duringthe period offiling divorce, alot of parents become overly involve with their child activities. By a reason, most parents with overinvolvement are not narcissisticbutarestruggling,oftenquitealone,withtheirownproblems.Fortunately,inthese couples of years Malaysia government has strongly promoted PreMarital Educational Program throughout the whole country partnership with many associations and NGOs. The resultisobvious. IfwelookbackthedivorceratebetweenMuslimandnonMuslim,wefoundthatthedivorce rate among Muslim has become stable after government enforced PreMarital Educational Program,eventhough theratestillmaintainbetween1415%.Nonetheless,fornonMuslim, duetotheprogramisconsideringoptional,therateisescalatedfrom5.89%to7.19%.Thatis to say, PreMarital Educational Program can account as one of the positive program to preventdivorce. CONCLUSIONS Ofcourse,topreventhighdivorcerate,anotherprogramcalledFamilyEnrichedshouldputin consideration. As understand, even new couple may have gone through several lessons of PreMaritalEducationalProgram,aftermanyyearsofmarriage,alotofthingthathadlearned at that moment become outofdate. Therefore, a Family Enriched program can act as a supporting system to provide more help to thefamily.If couple reallyfelt that divorce is the only solution, than an awareness program for divorce might be necessary as to educate divorceehowtofacetheirnewlifeafterdivorce.Inaddition,itisalsoimportantfordivorceeto recognizeanewlifeonlydealingwiththeselfcircus,butalsoincludedchildrenandprevious bonding. REFERENCES Craiq A Everett & William Jeynes (2002). Divorce, Family structure, and the Academic Success of Children [Chapter 2: Research Regarding the Effects of Family Structure on Children].NewYork:TheHaworthPressInc.pp.1320 David H. Olson & John DeFrain (1994). Marriage and The Family, Diversity and Strengths. [Chapter 18: Divorce and Adjustment]. California, USA: Mayfield Publishing Company, pp. 522525 http://www.athealth.com/consumer/disorders/childrendivorce.html Patten,Peggy.(1999).DivorceandChildrenPartI:AnInterviewwithRobertHughes,Jr., PhD.ParentNews[Online],5(5).

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Sheri&BobStritof.(2008).Marriage http://marriage.about.com/od/historyofmarriage/g/marriage.htm Teo Say Eng (2007). Your Rights and the Law [Chapter 28: You and The Law on marriage anddivorce].Singapore:LexisNexis,pp317322.