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Wednesday December 20, 2006

Senator claims spouse abuse

KLANG: Senator Datin Paduka Norhayati Onn Ismail wants to end her 23-year marriage because she can no longer endure the beatings from her husband. 

Norhayati, 43, told Syariah Court judge Mohd Fouzi Mokhtar yesterday that her engineering consultant husband Mohd Sufian Abdul Aziz, 49, had assaulted her over the years. 

Norhayati: Says she tolerated the ill treatment for the sake of her children
“Whenever we quarrelled, he would beat me with his bare hands or kick me. There were times when he used a golf club, keys, shoes or even a knife to hurt me,” she said. 

Norhayati filed for her marriage to be dissolved at the Syariah Court here this year under the fasakh application in which the wife seeks a divorce. 

The Klang Umno Wanita division chief and daughter of the Selangor State Assembly speaker claims that her marital years were filled with physical and mental torture; she is incompatible with her husband and that he has never provided for her since the day they were married in 1983. 

She told the court that once in 2001 her husband had beaten her until her face bled and a friend took her to a private hospital. 

“I told the doctor that I fell but my friend later told him what happened,” said Norhayati. 

She also sought treatment for a fractured hand that resulted from the beatings in 1997. 

“I also told the doctor then that I had fallen,” she added.  

Norhayati said her family knew about the abuse but she never lodged any police report against Sufian because she wanted to protect his name and give him a chance to change. 

On the mental torment, Norhayati said Sufian had called her “prostitute” many times as well as betina sundal (immoral woman) when he saw her talking to men. 

She said she had tolerated the ill treatment for the sake of her children but now that they were grown up she decided to leave him. 

“Even if the court rules that I should go back to him, I will not because I have had enough,” said the mother of three children – one working, one in university and the youngest in secondary school. 

Norhayati testified that she had paid for most of the house rentals, food and much of her husband’s debts, including those to loan sharks. 

“He would also ask me for money, even for a game of golf. The amount varied from hundreds to thousands of ringgit. 

“Once, even after I had given him money, I saw him taking more from my purse,” Norhayati said during examination by her counsel Khardee Mohd Shaari. 

During cross-examination by Sufian’s counsel Mohd Burok, Norhayati denied a suggestion she did not report the assault in 2001 because she was also at fault. 

She maintained that Sufian had called her names, even when others were present, and that he had tried to thwart her political work. 

Norhayati acknowledged that her father Tan Sri Onn Ismail had once asked her to reconcile with Sufian and that her husband had also sought reconciliation. “But I will not because I cannot stand it anymore; the things that he had done to me,” she said. 

Hearing continues on Jan 9.