Malaysian state mulls whipping, jail for "invalid" divorces
Oct 19, 2011, 5:22 GMT
Kuala Lumpur - Hardline Islamists ruling a north-eastern Malaysian state were mulling a suggestion to impose whipping and jail terms as penalties for divorcing without valid cause, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The government of Kelantan was willing to consider 'heavier penalties' to reduce the divorce rate of Muslims, the chairwoman of the state's women development, family and health committee Wan Ubaidah Omar was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.
Common grounds for couples seeking divorce include infidelity and the failure of one partner to satisfy the other. Officials did not explain what would constitute invalid reasons for divorce.
State government officials declined to comment on the announcement when contacted, but reiterated that the government was merely open to different ways of keeping Muslim families from falling apart.
The Kelantan government has in recent years been offering free holidays and counselling for troubled couples, in a move to stop the increasing number of divorced couples.
The state currently the fourth-highest divorce rate among the country's 16 territories.