KLANG: Aida Melly Tan Mutalib's world came crashing down when her marriage hit a dead end over two decades ago.
In an attempt to get out of the arranged marriage and move on with her life, the mother of one filed for a divorce at the Syariah Court but her estranged husband refused to set her free.
It was in 1996 when her marriage hit rock bottom, Aida Melly – who is now in her 50s – knew that she had to get out of it but what she did not anticipate was the long arduous journey ahead.
After she filed for a divorce, her then-husband filed a nusyuz (disobedience) application against her at the same court.
"It was a difficult trial and the following year, I discharged my lawyers and represented myself because I felt that the case was moving too slowly.
"With the help of some lawyer friends, I prepared my own affidavit and also carried out the cross-examination," she said.
Aida Melly won the case at last but her husband kept appealing every petition she filed to seek closure to the marriage.
"It went on and on for years. I felt disheartened and in desperation, I wrote a letter to the Selangor Palace and attached it with a huge pile of documents, hoping that the Sultan could help me," she said.
Luckily for her, Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah stepped in and advised the court to hasten the decision-making process.
Aida Melly said the Sultan intervened not only once but twice with the second time being after her husband appealed the Syariah High Court’s decision to grant her divorce at the Syariah Appeal Court.
She was finally granted a divorce in 2002 after the appeal at the Syariah Appeal Court was withdrawn.
"I was finally free, at age 36, after seven long years of battling in court," said Aida Melly, adding that she would always be grateful to Sultan Sharafuddin, who had come to her aid when she had sunk to her lowest ebb and was close to giving up.
"Tuanku’s help was a light at the end of a long and dark tunnel,” she added.
Following her divorce, Aida Melly, who remains single, began to explore her potential.
Besides painting and designing jewellery, she said the activity she enjoyed most is spending time with her two grandsons Yusuf Ameer Affif, eight, and Yahya Ameer Affif, four.
She wished the Sultan a very happy 78th birthday and hoped Selangor would continue to prosper under His Highness’ grace.
"May Allah SWT bless Tuanku with continuous good health and much happiness. Daulat Tuanku!"