KUALA LUMPUR: Almost 78,000 divorces were recorded nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak began last year, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).
He said that a total of 10,346 divorces involved non-Muslim couples while 66,440 cases involved Muslims between March last year and August this year.
"From this total (non-Muslim divorces), Selangor recorded the highest number with 3,160 cases followed by Kuala Lumpur (2,893) and Perak (1,209)," the Prime Minister said in a written reply to a question raised by Datuk Dr Hasan Bahrom (PH-Tampin) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Sept 15).
On Muslim divorce cases, he said the highest number of cases was recorded in Johor (7,558) followed by Kedah (5,985) and Kelantan (5,982).
Ismail Sabri acknowledged that the pandemic and subsequent movement control orders (MCO) had led to pressure on married couples and the family institution.
"The Covid-19 crisis led the government implementing the MCO since March last year and the community, particularly those at risk, were advised to stay home to prioritise their health and safety.
"Life under the new normal was seen to have impacted several aspects of life, especially the family institution," he said.
In light of this, Ismail Sabri said that the National Population and Family Development Board conducted a survey between March 5 and 14 this year to gauge the impact of pandemic on married couples.
He noted the survey involved 1,148 married couples with children from the ages of seven to 24.
He said the findings showed that 80% of parents began to experience economic and mental pressure during the third wave of the pandemic earlier this year.
He added that 28% said that their economic situation had worsened during this period compared to the earlier MCOs.
"This is evident as 84.1% faced emotional stress such as being anxious, nervous and worried during the third wave of the pandemic," he said.
The survey, he added, found that 63% had suffered bouts of depression.
Ismail said the effects of depression resulted in 20.4% of parents surveyed saying that they found it hard to control their temper.
"This was followed by difficulty in falling asleep (16.8%) or constantly having headaches and tummy aches (15.8%)," he added.
On a more positive note, Ismail Sabri said that 96.1% of parents agreed to get vaccinated with families to achieve herd immunity for the nation.
He said the government would continue efforts to assist those affected through new comprehensive initiatives.