Lack of uniform syariah laws causes child custody tussle

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 16 Jan 2003

From the Malay Press

THE child custody tussle between Siti Fauziah Abd Rahman and her husband Mohsen Mohd Noor continues to grab the attention of Malay newspaper readers. 

A Berita Harian reader, Ruslan A. Rahman, blamed the couple’s problem on the lack of uniformity and communication between the Syariah courts of Alor Star, which sided with Mohsen, and Kuala Terengganu, which ruled that Siti should be given custody. 

Ruslan said the problem was that the two states had different enactments and there was no higher court to decide on the matter. 

“The Terengganu Syariah Court decision was based on the Islamic Family Administration Enactment, 1985, while the Kedah stand was based on the Kedah Syariah Court Enactment, 1983, and Kedah Islamic Family Administration Enactment, 1979. 

“Both courts have strong reasons for their decisions,” he added. 

Ruslan said he fully supported the government’s move in asking state governments to gazette a standard Islamic family law, which had been agreed on by the Rulers’ Council, as soon as possible. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that a standard law would stop the confusion over family issues, especially those pertaining to polygamy and child custody.  

Utusan Malaysia, writing on the ongoing rough patch between the DAP and PAS, quoted DAP adviser Dr Chen Man Hin as saying that PAS “can forget about asking for co-operation” in the next general election unless it dropped its vision for an Islamic state. 

He said the DAP lost many seats and more followers after agreeing to a partnership with PAS in the last election. 

“The DAP will not agree with PAS’ ambition to set up an Islamic state; we are willing to compromise if it agrees to our condition,” he told Utusan. 

He was commenting on PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s invitation to the DAP to join the opposition coalition. 

Dr Chen said the party had to impose the condition because in its co-operation with PAS in the previous election, PAS had gained a lot of advantage while the DAP had turned out to be the loser.  

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