Tabling of Marriage and Divorce Act amendments postponed

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR


PUTRAJAYA: The tabling of proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 has been postponed until further notice.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the bill needs to be reviewed to ensure that it will not become polemical and affect the peace of the country.

"We need to get feedback from non-governmental organisations and religious experts to ensure that the amendment will not go against the fatwa and Federal Constitution.

"Although we have studied the bill, we need to review it again so that it will not become a polemic or detrimental to the country.

"We will leave it to the Attorney-General to decide on the suitable date to table the amended act," he said after attending the Home Ministry's monthly assembly.

Zahid reiterated that the government's decision to amend the act is based on national interest.

On Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister said he will discuss calls to review the proposed amendments to Act 164 with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria had urged the government to withdraw its decision to table the bill to avoid confusion among muallaf (Muslim converts) married to Muslim-born partners.

Harussani reportedly said on Monday that amendments to Act 164 are in conflict with the Federal Constitution and Islamic rulings, and could also be seen as disrespecting Islam.

He said it is also in conflict with the 87th National Fatwa Committee Muzakarah in June, 2009.