Lawyer: Stricter laws needed to protect rights of divorced women

Voon says lawmakers should make it a crime with hefty fines and jail term for those who fail to pay alimony.

THERE is a need for better protection of women and children when married couples decide to go separate ways.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan said the existing law was not effective in protecting mothers and children post-divorce.

He urged lawmakers to plug the loophole by making it a crime with hefty fines and jail term for those who fail to pay alimony to their ex-wife and children.

Voon said seizure of the husband’s property should be considered in the event of default of alimony payment.

“Most often than not, when there is a divorce settlement or divorce granted by court, payments to wife and children from the ex-husband are low because the wife would usually be coerced to accept a very low sum for maintenance, “ said Voon, who is a lawyer.

Despite a court order, he said, there were many times he had come across instances of husbands failing to pay alimony.

“Some of them are rich, living in mansions, eating in expensive restaurants and driving flashy cars.

“They choose to ignore the plight of their ex-wives and children. This is a serious problem in our society, ” he added.

Voon said there were also cases of ex-wives and children being chased out of their homes because they could not afford the rent or monthly instalments.

“There are those who are well-to-do, including politicians, who suddenly claim to be poor, ill and struggling to make ends meet, claiming that they are unable to pay alimony to their ex-wives, ” he said.

He added that often women did not have the financial means to engage lawyers to compel their ex-husbands to honour the alimony payment decided by the courts.

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