PETALING JAYA: The Government will come to the aid of Muslim women who are going through divorce but are not being paid alimony (nafkah).
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom said the Government had approved an allocation of RM15mil to pay women caught in this predicament. He said the payments, which would be in the form of loans, was to ensure that their welfare was well looked after.
“Sometimes, the husbands refuse to provide alimony until after the court reaches a decision on the divorce case.
“The allocation is therefore given to the wives and children for their daily expenses,” he told reporters after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) monthly meeting here yesterday.
Jamil said the Malaysian Syariah Judicial Department (JKSM) was currently distributing the allocation to states nationwide.
“There are some states which have started giving out loans of RM100,000 and the allocation will add to the existing capital,” he said.
He proposed that JKSM quickly take the allocation so that the funds would not be exhausted. In an immediate reaction, non-governmental organisations and professionals said the move was a good one.
However, they wanted to see the decision implemented efficiently.
Sisters in Islam public education and communications programme manager Mas Elati Samani said that while the move was timely, a proper system and mechanism had to be employed to ensure the move fulfilled its purpose.
“It is a commendable move which has been proposed in the past but what is more important is how the allocation can fully help those who really need the money,” she said.
She said the Government had to ensure that the allocation reached the divorcees who genuinely needed financial help.
“Another aspect to consider is the proper form of channelling of the allocation through the right agencies,” she said.
Syariah Lawyer Saadiah Din said the Government needed to consider providing allocation for legal aid as many could not afford lawyers.
“There is no doubt that it’s a good move but what if husbands start taking advantage of the situation knowing that the government is providing this allocation?
“What about repayment of the loan? Does the wife or the husband have to repay the amount?” asked Saadiah.
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