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Let’s adore our beloveds daily - The Star - Musings
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Unless prompted, most of us forget about romance in our lives. Everybody needs some, and there is no need to restrict it to only a certain day in the year.

WE often bemoan the intense politicking between our political parties where neither side will ever agree with whatever the other side says.
But occasionally there is bi-partisan cooperation on issues. Unsurprisingly they cooperate on sin. Or, anti-sin if you like.

Recently, the Youth wing of PAS announced that Muslims should not celebrate Valentine’s Day and instead lead a sin-free life.

Not long after, the government department Jakim announced that it would launch an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign to persuade Muslims to lead a life sans sin.

First of all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all lead lives without any sin at all? Why, this would obviate the need for Judgment Day, and even heaven and hell.

We would all live our lives never telling a single lie, never betraying friends and family, never asking for payola or paying off anyone to get something.

I don’t recall ever a time in history where people lived in such bliss but I suppose we should not stop hoping.

Secondly, there are certainly 365 days a year (less in a Muslim year) to both commit sins or not to, so it hardly seems efficient to concentrate so much time, energy and effort on just one.

Why, if I were a smart sinner, I’d just postpone my romantic dinner with my husband by one day. Although I still don’t understand why going on a date with my husband should be considered a sin. I thought that was why I signed on the dotted line.

Isn’t that why we encourage young girls to sign up for marriage, so that they would stop sinning, the little hussies? So the dating would become kosher?

I do agree, however, that we should not focus all our passion on our loved one (or several) on just one day in a year.

We should instead spread it out so that our beloveds feel adored every day. That is, if they don’t feel smothered instead.

Perhaps our problem is that, unless prompted, most of us forget about romance in our lives.

Everybody needs some, and why restrict it to certain days in the year?

Instead of having an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign, I propose that Jakim (and PAS, too, if they’d like to) do a year-long one on love.

The campaign could have some catchy name, like “How Do I love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways” (and there should be at least 365 romantic ideas).

Or, “What’s Love Got To Do With It? Romancing the Halal Way.”

Or, in tune with our current government slogan, “1Love.” This however might be problematic for those who may have more than one beloved in their lives.

But campaign slogans may not be enough, especially when people don’t understand what they actually stand for. What we therefore need are role models. People whom everyone can look up to as fine examples of perfect halal sin-free love.

In this case, who would be better suited for these roles than our religious leaders themselves?

Presumably they all have wives they love. Therefore they should lead these campaigns by giving talks on how they express their love for their wives.

Every single day, of course. It would be instructive for the rest of us, not to mention rivetting.

I’d love to know how PAS youth make their women feel special. Do they compliment them on their looks, or on their cooking skills? For those with wives who work outside the home, do they take them out for a celebratory meal (and thus give them a day off from the kitchen) when they get promoted?

How do Jakim officers fete their wives? On birthdays and anniversaries, what do they give their lovies? Since sexiness by one’s spouse is very much allowed, do they shop the Victoria’s Secret catalogue for risqué undies? Apparently it’s well documented that apart from diamond rings, sexy undies always work.

Lest anyone think I’m mocking anyone, I am dead serious. You can’t take away a fun activity like Valentine’s Day without giving a suitable alternative.

It is simply not enough to say that since Valentine’s Day leads to sin, you must just do something unsinful. There needs to be more pro-active ideas than that.

Give examples of unsinful things a loving couple could get up to, especially if they are married. What would be suitable replacements for a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates or a teddy bear, for example? And where would be good dinner venues, those with presumably bright lights and religious music?

And what advice would they give on how to douse passions that such evenings might arouse?

All of us long-time marrieds are waiting with bated breath. After all we want to go to heaven, too.
Beware wave for rights - The Star - Sharing the Nation
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It behoves on governments and their religious apparatus to watch current developments in the Arab world closely.

I WENT to Egypt for the first time in 1981 and promptly fell in love with the country and its people. Until then, I thought I had never encountered the same warmth, generosity and hospitality as Malaysians had to offer.

And there, everyone, including strangers you just met, wanted you to visit their home, their farm, their village.

They were proud of their history and their country – and wanted to feed you endlessly. I have been back several times since for holidays and meetings.

However, by my last visit at the end of 2009, I felt the country was ripe for a revolution.

Decades of oppression, corruption and misrule had turned the once warm, proud people I met into angry, hardened individuals.

My Egyptian friend would turn on the radio to listen to the news every morning and instinctively say, “I hope Hosni Mubarak is dead.” I saw loud quarrels daily in the streets, whether it was in Cairo, Luxor or Aswan.

Taxi drivers, camel, donkey and horse cart drivers fought with each other over who stole whose customers.


One voice: The uprising in Egypt is not led by manic men in beards and faceless women in black. Arabs from all walks of life are revolting against their despotic rulers. The only flags flying are national flags.

The “illegal” guides and touts at tourist sites cheated tourists blind as they left them stranded in the middle of the hot sands of the Pyramids, unless they were paid double for the ride back on their camels.

Turned out the payment that had been negotiated before the journey had just been for a one-way trip.

And God forbid if you met the eye of a man trying to sell you postcards or plastic copies of the Sphinx or the Pyramids; he would not let you get away until you bought something. I

n the end, I rationalised that they all needed the money more than I did and just gave in each time.

But my last straw of patience was broken when I was trying to find transport between the domestic terminal to the international terminal in Cairo to catch my flight home.

I was sent on a merry-go-round to find my way out of the building and to the right bus stop.

Even then I had to change buses to make that 10-minute trip! When I finally boarded the right bus to the international terminal, I announced in exasperation to the passengers, “You need a new government.”

Those who could understand English stared at me for a moment and then turned to each other in hushed discussion. A government that pays no attention to the basic needs of its people, and not even to the goose that lays its golden egg, will come to its inevitable end.

My Egyptian friends are not the only ones who are excited and passionate about this historic moment to topple a 30-year-old dictatorship: so are democrats in the Muslim world as we chat, tweet, blog and e-mail each other.

Finally, the democracy wave that swept Latin America and Africa is hitting the Arab world. And how significant that will be to the rest of the Muslim world.

Even though only about 20% of Muslims live in Arab lands, too many among us who live on supposedly the periphery of the Muslim world still look upon the Arab world as everything that is authentically Muslim.

We, in the supposed periphery, who have kept Islam alive for centuries by our ability to adapt the practice and understanding of the faith to our cultural particularities were suddenly told that the way we practised Islam – a kinder and gentler way – was “unIslamic”. I

t was jahilliyah – ignorant Islam. Now that we knew what “true” Islam was, we needed to follow its authentic ways.

So our sarong kebaya, selendang, and even baju kurung were all not Islamic enough. We must now don the long loose jubah that hides our shape.

And to please God more, we have to make it in solid black, navy blue or brown. Our mak yong, wayang kulit and mandi putri were banned for all their syirik (placing an entity on the same level as God) elements.

Suddenly, hundreds of years of culture and tradition of the Malay archipelago, which had absorbed the influences of great world civilisations, were pronounced unIslamic.

Never mind that we have become the poorer for it – as long as we are “authentically” Muslim.

The political Islam that developed within the geo-political context of the conflicts and competition of the Middle Eastern world became our struggle and our burden.

In the race to be “authentically” Muslim, we adopt laws that discriminate against women so that we can be more like the “authentic” Saudis.

We segregate men and women; we can no longer shake hands with those of the opposite sex; we forbid Muslims from greeting friends of other faiths on their festive occasions; and we justify child marriage in the name of Islam.

Never mind all the evidence of the harm it causes to the child bride.

While those who wish for the status quo to remain in the Arab world push away the spectre of the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islamists coming to power in place of the despotic allies of the United States, my Arab friends are at pains to point out that what is happening in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Sudan is a people’s uprising, in particular the revolution of the young, people with “no job, no money and no freedom”, as the Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy said.

They form 60% of the population in the Arab world; and they could have been a source of growth and wealth or a source of violence and instability, Arab development reports had warned for long.

My Arab friends are of course burgeoning with pride and confidence that what will eventually emerge in Egypt and Tunisia will be democratic governments.

The hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets in the Arab world are not demanding an Islamic state and Shariah law, they pointed out. The uprising is not led by manic men in beards and faceless, joyless women in black.

Arabs from all political persuasions and all walks of life are revolting against their despotic rulers. The only flags flying are national flags.

While the Islamist movement in both countries remain the largest political force, and there is worry that they might step into any political vacuum and commandeer power, this is not the world of 1979.

Back then, the Iranian revolution which had brought diverse social and political forces together was hijacked by the Islamists and transformed into an Islamic revolution. Thirty-two years of Islamic rule has not brought Iran the social justice, democracy, and freedom the people yearned for.

A despotic monarchy was replaced by a despotic theocratic rule.

In the 21st century, Muslims have seen the failure of the Islamic state experiment in Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan after the overthrow of secular regimes.

The return of Rashid Al-Ghannouchi, the 69-year-old leader of the Tunisian Islamist movement Al-Nahda, after a long exile in London is not the return of a Khomeini ready to impose vilayet-e-faqih, rule of the jurisconsult as God’s representative on earth.

In interviews, he has rejected this notion and criticised the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for its party position that an Ulama Council should supervise Parliament as in Iran where the all-powerful Guardian Council must approve all bills passed and has the power of veto if it considers them inconsistent with the Constitution and the Shariah. He also criticised the Muslim Brotherhood’s position against Copts and women running for the presidency.

Instead, he sees the AKP in Turkey (Justice and Development Party) as a model to follow, and the Scandinavian socio-economic model as the closest to his Islamic vision.

He believes in democracy and calls on Islamists to relinquish their ambition to monopolise Islam and impose a single, all-powerful interpretation which has proven to be inherently unstable and temporary, he said.

In the end, the proof of the pudding of course must be in the eating, but Ghannouchi is wise and strategic enough to capture the imagination and the mood of the times.

And the times have indeed changed. It behoves on the Malaysian Government and its religious apparatus on the one hand and Pakatan Rakyat and its PAS allies on the other to watch the developments in the Arab world closely.

As the revolt spreads in the Arab world and the democracy movement digs roots in that region, we might just find ourselves falling from the much-touted model modern Muslim state to an intolerant autocratic state where religion, race and gender become increasingly entrenched as the basis of citizenship and exercise of rights.
Winds of change beckon in Egypt - The Star - Musings
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It started in Tunisia and has now spread to Egypt. People are revolting against longstanding leaders who have ruled with iron fists and lived in opulence while the masses suffer with soaring unemployment and a rising cost of living.

WHOEVER said the Year of the Rabbit would be a gentle one? In Tunisia, a small act of desperation literally sparked off historic changes.

A young man called Mohamad Bouazizi, educated but only able to earn a living selling fruit and vegetables at an illegal stall, set himself on fire after the authorities confiscated it.

Mohamad symbolised all the young and disenfranchised in Tunisia, frustrated by the huge gap between them and the extremely wealthy elite, and thus sparked large protests. In less than a month, the much-hated President and his family were out and Tunisia is now in the throes of transition to a new government, the shape of which nobody quite knows yet.

Whatever it becomes, Tunisia’s people revolt had inspired others. Smaller protests started to spring up in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen.

And then Egypt, with the largest population in the Middle East – 80 million, suddenly caught fire. We have to realise that people don’t revolt just to be trendy.

The Middle East has been ripe for this for a long time. Long-standing leaders rule them with iron hands, rigging votes as well as disallowing their people of much freedom. Some use religion as the basis for such repression.

But such leaders can slowly go blind and deaf. Many of them fail to notice that their population, which comprise the younger generation mostly, are the ones who are facing a desperate unemployment situation.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the worst unemployment problem in the world.

In Egypt, 58% of the population is under 25 years old.

In 2003 it had the highest unemployment rate in the world, at 25.6%, and there is an additional 500,000 unemployed each year. Across the Arab world, the unemployment rate stands at 20%.

This translates to 22 million people, out of which 60% are youth. Much of this unemployment is attributed to the failure of most Arab countries to link education to the needs of the job market.

As we can see from the events in Egypt right now, nothing could be more dangerous for leaders than to educate young people for jobs that do not exist.

Couple that with a failing economy which depletes people’s already low standards of living and a refusal to address those issues, then you provide kindling dry enough to be set alight with any match. And it doesn’t even have to be an internal one.

This should be a lesson for leaders everywhere. More than anything, people’s dignity and self-respect is important. In this light, a job and the ability to provide for one’s family is part of that personal dignity.

When people are unemployed, it is not because they are lazy and choosy. It is because there are no jobs or none that matches their educational attainments.

How humiliating it is to be forced, like Mohamad Bouazizi, to take a job selling vegetables in a market when you are an educated person.

But only leaders who are willing to listen to people will understand the need for such dignity.

If at the same time, a leader is seen as not only unwilling to listen but also greedy and corrupt, living in unashamed opulence as Tunisia’s former President and his wife did while his people had so little, then there will come a time when the patience of the people will run out.

Malaysians may shake their heads at the riots in Egypt. But it has to be understood that the desperation and frustration of Egyptians far exceeds anything we have ever known.

And after brutal repression all these years, to go out on the streets to demand a return of their dignity is an act of courage which we rarely have to show. Egyptians and their Arab counterparts are not scared of dying to gain freedom.

That is what’s frightening every single leader across the region now. Especially since even the police and army, crucial to maintaining power, are also rebelling.

I am appalled at the silence on our side at this historic moment, apart from ensuring our students are safe.

Indeed, most world leaders have been caught off-guard and dumbfounded by this. Some big powers are even trying to hedge their bets, not quite supporting their old friends while trying to encourage the people’s revolt.

After all, they had been supporting undemocratic regimes and now democracy has a chance to bloom without their help at all.

And the countries they have invaded for the sake of “democracy” are not doing that well either.

We should watch closely this historic moment in the MENA and learn the many lessons from there.

And let us never think that such a revolution can’t happen here.

As MENA leaders are finding, never be foolish enough to say never.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Hak Suami dan Isteri dalam Harta Sepencarian
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Soalan :

Keputusan cerai antara saya dan bekas isteri telah di sahkan oleh Mahkamah Syariah di sini. Salah seorang Pegawai Sulh telah menyarankan bahawa saya dan bekas isteri untuk menjalani kaedah Sulh dalam menyelesaikan tuntutan bersama yang dipohon oleh kami. Antara tuntutan yang dituntut ialah harta sepencarian, nafkah dan hak penjagaan anak-anak kami. Namun begitu, bekas isteri menyatakan saya tidak ada hak langsung dalam menuntut harta sepencarian. Adakah perkara ini benar? Dan bukan niat saya untuk lepas tanggugjawab terhadap bekas isteri dan anak-anak. Saya hanya perlukan kepastian. Semoga jawapan yang diberi dapat dikongsi bersama dengan pembaca yang lain terutamanya para suami. Tolong beri penjelasan kepada saya.

Zulkamal
Seksyen 13, Shah Alam

Jawapan :

Perkahwinan boleh dianggap sebagai satu usahasama antara suami dan isteri. Namun, ada rumahtangga yang dibina bermasalah dan tidak berpanjangan. Masalah ini boleh timbul daripada pelbagai punca sama ada disebabkan faktor keadaan atau kesesuaian dalam menyempurnakan tanggungjawab dan peranan masing-masing.

Walaupun perkahwinan tersebut putus di tengah jalan, Islam sebagai agama yang adil telah menetapkan hak-hak yang wajib dituntut atau diterima bagi mengimbangi kehidupan hamba-hambanya. Hak-hak yang dimaksudkan khususnya selepas sesuatu penceraian adalah seperti harta sepencarian, nafkah iddah isteri, mutaah, nafkah anak-anak, hak penjagaan anak dan lain-lain.

Isu mengenai harta isteri dan harta suami masih lagi tidak jelas kedudukannya lebih-lebih lagi dalam hal pembahagian harta sepencarian. Secara amnya, harta sepencarian pada asalnya diambil daripada adat resam Melayu yang telah diterimapakai oleh masyarakat setempat. Penerimaan adat resam ini menurut perspektif Islam menyatakan bahawa apabila sesuatu adat atau uruf diakui kebaikannya dan telah diberi pengiktirafan undang-undang, kedudukannya tidak lagi sebagai adat, tetapi telah menjadi suatu peraturan atau perundangan yang mesti diikuti dan dikuatkuasakan. 

Harta sepencarian berdasarkan Hukum Syara’ ditafsirkan sebagai pemerolehan harta sepanjang tempoh perkahwinan sama ada membabitkan harta alih atau tak alih dan pihak yang memberi sumbangan sama ada secara langsung atau tidak langsung.  Maka, pembahagian harta sepencarian menunjukkan pengiktirafan Syara’ terhadap hak, habuan dan pemilikan pihak berusaha mendapatkan harta itu sepanjang perkahwinan. Pembahagian itu dibuat bersandarkan kemaslahatan pihak atas prinsip keadilan dan hak.

Tuntutan terhadap harta sepencarian bukanlah dihadkan kepada isteri saja, malah suami juga berhak menuntut harta sepencarian daripada isteri. Jika diteliti tafsiran ini, ia menunjukkan bahawa harta yang sama-sama diperolehi oleh suami isteri, bukannya harta yang diperolehi oleh isteri sahaja ataupun harta yang diperolehi oleh suami sahaja.

Manakala dari perspektif undang-undang, seksyen 122(1) Enakmen Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Selangor) 2003 memperuntukan bahawa mahkamah mempunyai kuasa apabila membenarkan lafaz talak atau apabila membuat suatu perintah perceraian untuk memerintah supaya aset yang diperoleh dalam masa perkahwinan dengan usaha bersama dibahagikan antara mereka atau supaya aset yang diperoleh pihak itu dalam masa perkahwinan dengan usaha bersama mereka dibahagikan antara mereka atau supaya mana-mana aset itu dijual dan dibahagikan antara pihak-pihak itu. Manakala seksyen 122(2) merujuk kepada faktor-faktor yang diambilkira oleh mahkamah dalam permbahagian harta sepencarian tersebut. Antara perkara yang ambilkira oleh mahkamah adalah:
•    Takat sumbangan yang dibuat tiap-tiap satu pihak dalam bentuk wang, harta, atau kerja bagi memperoleh aset itu;
•    Apa-apa yang terhutang oleh salah satu pihak yang telah dilakukan bagi manfaat bersama mereka;
•    Keperluan anak yang belum dewasa daripada perkahwinan itu, jika ada.

Tertakluk kepada seksyen 122(2), mahkamah juga boleh memerintahkan supaya aset itu dijual dan hasil jualan dibahagikan sama rata antara kedua pihak sebagaimana dinyatakan dalam seksyen 122(3). Manakala seksyen 122(4), mahkamah dengan kuasa yang ada boleh membahagikan aset itu atau hasil jualan mengikut apa-apa kadar yang difikirkan munasabah, tetapi walau bagaimanapun, pihak yang memperoleh aset itu dengan usahanya hendaklah menerima suatu kadar yang lebih besar.

Oleh itu, walaupun harta itu atas nama isteri sahaja, tetapi jika saudara berjaya membuktikan kepada mahkamah bahawa saudara juga ada menyumbang terhadap harta tersebut, maka mahkamah akan memutuskan bahawa itu adalah harta sepencarian. Merujuk Kitab At-Turuq al-Hukmiyah karya Ibnu Qayyim al-Juziyyah mengatakan, dalam tuntutan suami isteri membabitkan harta sepencarian, tuntutan hendaklah berdasarkan keterangan pihak yang membuktikan tuntutan itu. Kenyataan mengenai hak terhadap harta sepencarian bukan hanya diambilkira berdasarkan nama harta itu didaftarkan semata-mata sedangkan pihak satu lagi mungkin menyumbang cuma namanya tiada dalam daftar hakmilik harta itu.

Namun begitu, Hukum Syarak menetapkan bahawa suami tidak ada hak ke atas harta mutlak isteri, contohnya harta isteri yang diperolehi melalui harta pusaka daripada keluarganya. Selain itu, harta-harta perseorangan yang dibeli sebelum perkahwinan dan harta-harta tersebut tidak diusahakan bersama sepanjang tempoh perkahwinan juga bukan harta sepencarian. Saudara juga perlu memastikan bahawa harta-harta itu adalah harta perolehan bersama dan bukan hadiah atau hibah yang dihadiahkan kepada bekas isteri. Oleh itu, saudara tidak boleh menuntut hadiah yang telah diberikannya kepada bekas isteri sebagai harta sepencarian.

Menurut satu hadis yang diriwayatkan oleh al-Tirmizi dan al-Hakim yang bermaksud:

“Tidak halal bagi seseorang menuntut balik sesuatu pemberian atau barang yang telah dihibahkannya kepada orang lain kecuali dia adalah ayah yang mana ayah boleh menuntut balik ke atas pemberian yang diberikan kepada anaknya.”

Diharap segala penjelasan dan informasi yang diberi dapat membantu saudara dalam memahami konsep hak dan pembahagian harta sepencarian. Perlu diberi perhatian bahawa Hukum Syara’ dan undang-undang ini bertujuan untuk memelihara kedua-dua hak suami dan isteri. Selanjutnya, pihak kami mengalu-alukan sebarang pertanyaan atau kemusykilan mengenai perkara-perkara berkaitan.
Husband not being fair after polygamy
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Question:

My husband had taken a second wife without my consent. Since then, he has neglected to pay me the maintenance that he used to give before his second marriage. Not only that, since his second marriage, he also sometimes fails to pay the children's maintenance. When I lodged a complaint with the Religious Office, one of the ustazahs from the polygamy department told me that when a wife works, the husband's consent for her to work can be used to replace the monthly maintenance that is compulsory for him to pay. So, what are my rights as a wife? Is it true that a husband is not required to pay for maintenance for wives who work? Is my husband not being fair by not providing me with maintenance like he did prior to taking a second wife?

Widuri,
Taman Miharja


Answer:

Polygamy is allowed under Malaysian law but there must have been permission given by the Syariah Court. This is provided under Section 23 (1) if the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984.

Pursuant to Sections 23 (3) and (4) of the Act, in giving said permission to enter into a polygamous marriage, the Court will consider several factors. Among those factors are: whether the polygamous marriage is just and necessary, the financial situation of the husband, whether or not the husband would be able to act fairly towards the wives, whether or not the consent and views of the existing wives have been obtained and that the marriage will not cause darar syarie upon the existing wife.

In your case, if your husband has taken another wife without the Court's permission, it is considered to be an offence under the law. Pursuant to Section 123 of the same Act, if he is charged and convicted of the offence, he can be fined for an amount not exceeding RM1000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

Even though the law states that you are required to attend in Court for the purpose of obtaining your views prior to giving your husband the permission to take another wife, it is merely a factor that the Court would consider. It is not the determining factor for the Court to give permission for your husband to engage in a polygamous marriage.

However, your husband has to prove that he has fulfilled all the requirements and conditions under Section 23 of the same Act. This was decided by the Selangor Appeal Committee in the case of Rajamah v. Abd Wahab (1990) JH 171. Because the husband failed to prove that he can fulfill all the said conditions and requirements, the Court decided to reject the husband's application for permission to take another wife.

Grounds:
In a polygamous marriage or not, it is the responsibility of the husband to provide for the wife's and children's maintenance. Surah Al-Nisaa verse 34 which means: The men will take care of the women, because Allah has given more to the men compared to the women, and because the men has spent (provide maintenance to support women) from part of their property.

Polygamy should not be made as an excuse to not provide for maintenance. For this reason, the Syariah Courts in Malaysia set the rule that a husband has to obtain the Court's permission before entering into a polygamous marriage. This is to avoid injustice committed against the existing wife and her family. Justice is the most important aspect of a polygamous marriage. Allah in Surah Al-Nisaa verse 3 said as follows: "If you fear that you would not be able to be fair and just towards your wives then marry only one."

The law has provided that the Court has the power to order a husband to pay maintenance to his wife and children. Section 59 (1) provides for this power. Therefore, you may make an application with the Syariah Court for an Order against your husband to pay maintenance. You may state that maintenance has not been received ever since your husband took a second wife as grounds for the application. You have to list down the items for which maintenance is being asked, for example, electrical bills, water bills, telephone bills, your children's bus fares, their school fees, their daily school expenses, clothes, household needs, your daily expenses and so on. The husband's duty to provide maintenance to his wife and children continues even though the wife has her own income. It does not mean that the husband can let go of his responsibilities by not providing maintenance.

Section 128 of the same Act provides that a husband who does not act fairly towards his wife has committed an offence and can be fined for an amount not exceeding RM1000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding 6 months or both.

Even though you have lodged a complaint with the Religious Office, that office only plays a role in providing counselling or advice regarding the problems you face. You have to go to the Syariah Court in order to demand for maintenance because only the Syariah Court has the power to make an order to compel your husband to pay maintenance for you and your children.

You are advised to seek for justice in the Syariah Court as it is clear that your husband is not being fair to you and your children upon him taking another wife.

Panel lawyers, Sisters In Islam.

(You are welcome to post your queries to Sisters In Islam at No. 7, Jalan 6/10, 46000 Petaling Jaya Selangor or call our TeleNisa line 03-7784 3733 every Monday, Thursday and Friday or e-mail us at telenisa@sistersinislam.org.my)
Review of "hudud" proposals
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Review of "hudud" proposals

23 May 2002

While it is encouraging to note the statement by the Terengganu state authorities (reported in NST, The Sun and Utusan Malaysia, 23 May 2002) that it is willing to postpone the tabling of the "hudud" bill to the July session in order to make some amendments to certain provisions of the bill, based on the responses and feedback that it has received from the public, we wish to point out that an overall review of the conceptual framework of the proposals as a whole should also be conducted.

All along, the PAS state governments of both Terengganu and Kelantan have repeatedly claimed that their version of the "hudud" law is the Divine Law of God. The very fact that glaring contradictions have been exposed between some of their proposed provisions with the actual letter and spirit of the Qur'an and authentic hadith may also raise serious doubts as to the propriety and conformity of the other provisions with the true spirit of the Divine Sources of the syariah.

It must be clearly understood that there is a vast difference between the divine sources of Islamic law-the direct revelations in the holy Qur'an-and the non-divine sources, which are the result of human juristic interpretations and opinions. A large part of historical Islamic jurisprudence is man-made, not divine. The formation and development of Islamic law took place over several centuries and through a variety of processes. The founding of the four orthodox schools of law began at least 100 years after the death of the Prophet (saw.).

To ensure the realisation of a just system of law based on the eternal and universal fundamental principles of Islam, very careful study and detailed re-examination needs to be carried out into the provisions of the proposed hudud laws. It is indeed most tragic that Qur'anic injunctions that are intended to protect all law-abiding members of society in general, and women in particular, have been distorted into legal provisions that have lead to the very opposite results in some Muslim countries which are claiming to implement the syariah criminal law. The provisions of the hudud proposals should also be re-examined in the context of universal Islamic human rights concepts.

It should always be remembered that God's forgiveness and mercy (for both men and women) is a constant and recurring theme that is emphasised in the holy Qur'an. For instance, after the punishments for sariqah or theft (in Surah Al-Maidah) and for zina and qazaf (in Surah An-Nur) are laid down, God's forgiveness and mercy is mentioned:

those who afterward repent and amend their conduct, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (Surah Al-Maidah 5 : 39, Surah An-Nur 24 : 5).

Should human beings and human-made institutions therefore hasten to punish what God, in plentiful mercy, may ultimately, even amply, pardon? On what grounds, we may ask, should humans presume impetuously to do so, pre-empting Divine Mercy. Even those of the most sincere and correct motivation, and even if they are operating on the basis of unquestionable legislation, and through legislative and judicial institutions of irreproachable integrity and ability, (which is not often the case in this very imperfect world), should be cautious of joining in any overzealous rush to judgment.

1. Sisters in Islam
2. All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
3. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
4. Wanita Ikram, Persatuan Komuniti Ikram, Kuala Lumpur
5. Majlis Pertubuhan Ibu-Ibu Tunggal Malaysia
6. National Council of Women's Organisatioms (NCWO)
7. Wijadi
8. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
9. Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI)
10.Women's Crisis Center (WCC)
11.Women Development Collective (WDC)
Terengganu Hudud Enactment
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Terengganu Hudud Enactment

17 July 2002

Sisters in Islam (SIS) deeply regrets that the Terengganu State government has insisted on hastily passing the Terengganu Hudud and Qisas legislation, despite the many concerns voiced by various different groups, including women's groups, regarding the proposed enactment. Although it has made some piecemeal amendments to certain provisions of the original draft bill, we wish to point out that an overall review of the conceptual framework of the provisions as a whole is also required.

All along, the PAS state governments of both Terengganu and Kelantan have attempted to silence criticism by repeatedly claiming that their version of the "hudud" law is the Divine Law of God. The very fact that glaring contradictions has been exposed between some of their original provisions with the actual letter and spirit of the Qur'an and authentic hadith also raises serious doubts as to the propriety and conformity of the other provisions with the true spirit of the Divine Sources of the syariah.

There is still confusion between rape and zina, when rape is regarded to be "zina by force" within the category of zina. Rape is actually a violent and heinous crime against women, a violation of a woman's body which is even worse than a violation of monetary property, and is the worst form of hirabah. Section 9 has been amended to allow a rape victim to bring qarinah (circumstantial evidence) in lieu of four male witnesses to the rape, and it is said that where there is circumstantial evidence, the rape complaint will be investigated.

However, there is still confusion on this point. What is the approach to be taken by this "investigation"? Is the purpose of the investigation to gather evidence against the alleged rapist, or merely to verify the woman's statement? Is the burden of proof placed on the woman rather than on the state authorities? Is the woman possibly liable to be charged with qazaf and/or zina should the investigators decide that there is lack of evidence to support her claim? It is acknowledged by legal practitioners, as well as by medical doctors and counselors, that even circumstantial evidence is often difficult to obtain in rape cases.

The present Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, which are in conformity with the principles of ta'zir legislation under Islamic criminal jurisprudence, provides for circumstantial evidence. It is inevitable, however, that in some cases, the prosecution would fail to produce sufficient evidence to convict the accused, and the accused would be acquitted, not because he is actually innocent, but because he is given the benefit of the doubt. The acquittal of the alleged rapist does not mean that the victim is lying, it merely means that the state prosecutors have failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The Hudud enactment passed by the Terengganu state government clearly contravenes the principle of justice emphasized by Islam. For instance, a Muslim convicted of theft would have his hand amputated while a non-Muslim convicted of the same offence would only be punished with imprisonment.

A non-Muslim criminal is also given the free choice to select whichever law he wishes to be tried under. Therefore, if he feels he could get acquitted under the Hudud law, he would choose to be tried under Hudud, and if he feels that he is bound to be convicted he would choose to be tried under the Penal Code. This inequality and injustice is bound to raise conflicts between Muslims and people of other faiths in our multi-religious country.

We believe that moral education and spiritual awareness are the best possible weapons in tackling the various ills in our society, rather than the imposition of severe punishments. Islam teaches the spirit of universal love among the community, and also emphasizes upon the importance of repentance and rehabilitation of sinners. God's forgiveness and mercy is a constant and recurring theme in the Qur'an. Therefore, we call upon all parties to refrain from using Hudud as a means of gaining popularity and political support as this would only bring Shariah and Islam into disrepute

Sisters In Islam
Press Briefing on the Incest Case
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Sisters in Islam views with concern the prosecution for incest of a 17-year-old girl, by the Kelantan Syariah Court. There is an assumption here that the daughter, considered a minor under civil law, is a willing partner in committing the crime of incest.

The daughter initially pleaded not guilty and had defended herself. However, the next day, after a discussion with her mother via telephone during a break in the trial, she thereafter pleaded guilty to the charge of incest. The court bound her over to be of good behaviour for one year with her mother standing surety. Since her mother has failed to post the bond of $1,000, the girl was sentenced by the court and committed to a rehabilitation home for one year.

While we welcome the Court's use of its discretionary powers in not allowing the publication of the girl's name and its decision not to imprison the girl, Sisters in Islam would like to raise some issues of concern, socially and legally, in the handling of this case. Important issues which need to be considered:-

* Is the girl a victim or a willing partner in the commission of the crime of incest? What was the evidence that led to the assumption of guilt against the girl and the decision of the Syariah Court to prosecute her? Even if it was felt that the girl was a willing partner, due to her young age and the perpetrator was a figure of authority and control, questions should arise as to the voluntary nature of her act. She could have been a victim of child abuse, or she could have committed the act under duress or coercion by the father.

* What are the safeguards that exist to ensure that her guilty plea was indeed genuine? The fact that the girl had at first pleaded not guilty and then changed her plea after speaking to her mother by telephone, the fact that the girl was in tears after this conversation, that her mother was not in court to give her support, should raise some concern and questions about the circumstances of her guilty plea.

* Given the nature of the crime and the relationship involved, should the Court exercise its discretionary power and request for further information to ascertain if a charge should in the first place be made against the girl? Could the Court take the parties into chambers to discuss the matter and advise the prosecution to withdraw the charge or order that the girl be discharged after due advice?

* Conflict between two parallel legal systems: The girl is a minor under civil law (under 18 years of age). However, under syariah law she is considered a "baligh" (one who has attained the age of puberty) and therefore a "mukallaf", one who is of right mind and therefore able to distinguish between what is good and bad and therefore take responsibility for her actions. Under syariah law, once a girl begins menstruation, she is considered an adult and therefore liable to a prosecution for illicit sex. Today, a girl may reach puberty at nine years of age, but does that mean she is mature enough to be held responsible for her actions? Under civil law and in society's eyes, she is a mere child. What provisions exist under syariah law to protect the interest of children and young persons against crimes perpetrated by adults in positions of authority and control over their well-being?

* We welcome the court's willingness to apply its discretionary powers and consider the provisions provided in the civil law, more specifically the Juvenile Courts Act, 1947 (“JCA”) in respect of the non-publication of the girl’s name/identification (s. 5A of the JCA) and in binding her over to be in good behaviour for one year. We wished, however, that the court could also have used its discretionary powers in considering the girl a juvenile instead of an adult and accord her the procedures provided for under the JCA.

* In what way was the girl's interest protected in the handling of this case? Under the JCA (s. 10), such a case would be referred to a Probation Officer who would provide the Court with information as to the girl's general conduct, home surroundings, school record, medical history so as to enable the Court to deal with the case in the best interests of the juvenile. The Juvenile Court will also not hold a hearing without the report of the Probation Officer. Moreover, the court is assisted by two advisers, one of whom is a woman, whose duty it is to inform and advise the court with respect to any consideration affecting the punishment or other treatment of any child or young person brought before it (s. 4(2).

* Should the confession of a father to the crime of incest be used as a mitigating factor to prosecute the victim, a minor under the protection and control of an authority figure who is also the pepetrator of the crime? Even if there was overwhelming evidence against both the father and the daughter and the fact that the father admitted to the charges, the Syariah Court must give due consideration to the fact that the victim is the daughter and a minor.

* Given the reality of present day society where girls begin menstruation at a much younger age, shouldn't the religious authorities review the definition of “baligh” and the assumption of “mukallaf” to determine whether a young person can be held responsible for her actions. Even if the daughter in this case did consent to such an act incest, society would question the circumstances of her family life and relationship that could enable such an act to happen. These must be regarded as mitigating factors.

LAW

1. Kelantan Enakmen Keterangan Mahkamah Syariah 1991
(Kelantan Evidence Enactment of the Syariah Court, 1991)

2. Enakmen Kanun Jenayah Syariah, tahun 1985, Negeri Kelantan

(Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment 1985)

3. Enakmen Acara Jenayah Syariah No. 9/83, Negeri Kelantan

(Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 1983)

4. Akta Mahkamah Juvana 1947

(Juvenile Courts Act, 1947)


24 August 2001
(Divorce)

The recent amendment to the Federal Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender poses a special challenge to the Syariah Court and the Islamic religion authorities in Malaysia to take steps to end all forms of discrimination against Muslim women in law and in practice, committed in the name of Islam.

The right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law and now the right to non-discrimination on the basis of gender are constitutional guarantees for all Malaysians to enjoy, Muslims and non-Muslims.

Sisters In Islam believes that nothing in these constitutional provisions conflict with Islam, a religion that upholds the principles of equality and justice for all.

In order to fulfil the demands of these constitutional guarantees, Sisters in Islam is launching a campaign to end the delays and injustice women suffer in the Syariah Courts in divorce proceedings.

This is a long standing problem and Muslim women today want this gross injustice and discrimination against them to end. We acknowledge that the Islamic Family Law in Malaysia enables women to get a divorce by ta'liq, and also provides for 12 different grounds to enable women to get a divorce by Fasakh.However, there are many shortcomings in the implementation of the law which contribute to the delays and injustice suffered by Muslim women. These include :

1. Gender bias in the attitude of the Court
While a man faces no obstacles in getting a divorce, the Court very often appears reluctant to grant a divorce to a woman without the agreement of her husbad, even though the grounds for divorce are clear. (see cases of Aida and Esah and Siti). When a woman initiates divorce, the Court seems over anxious to preserve the sanctity of the marriage, even though it has irrevocably broken down. This attitude, however, does not seem to cloud the court's judgement when a man initiates divorce.

2. Weaknesses in procedure
-Court's insistence on use of lawyers even though the law allows for women to represent themselves.
-Court's insistence on mediation, even though parties heve not been able to reach agreement through mediation.
-Court's insistence on husband's presence and allowing several postponements of cases because of husband's absence.

3. Counselling sessions
-Counselling session organised by the Religious Department (RD) are not mandatory under the law, but women are sometimes required to attend such sessions before their cases are heard in court, even in a case where the husband was violently abusive and had already been sentenced to imprisonment (see Esah's case).

4. Problems with lawyers.
Women sometimes receive unwarranted advice from their lawyers who tell them to go back to their husbands. Therefore, those women feel as though their own lawyers are on the husbands' side rather then on their side. Women also of face the problem of mounting legal fees when their cases are delayed. Women who cannot afford to hire the services of a private lawyer have to go to the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) for help. The inadequate number of legal officers and staff at the LAB further aggravate the problem of backlog of cases and delays in the hearing of cases in court.

5. Lack of information
Women are often accused of being ignorant of their rights under the law, as well as being ignorant of the correct procedures in making their applications. Women cannot be expected to be aware of all the legal technicalities and the lack of information on certain basic procedures (filling the correct forms, etc) contributes to the delays.

6. Administrative weaknesses
Delays are also caused by administrative weaknesses e.g the difficulties in obtaining a copy of the marriage certificate required by the court before the case could be heard.

We acknowledge that various positive steps have been taken by the Syariah Judicial Department under Dato' Sheikh Ghazali, through the Practice Directions issued to the Syariah Courts to reduce the problem of delays. In particular Practice Direction No.2 of 2001 directs the mention of cases within 21 days after the case has been filed, and Practice Direction No.4 of 2001 directs that postponement should only be granted on reasonable grounds and that a date should be given for the next hearing. We are concerned, however, as to the proper implementation of these directions.

The following proposals are made with the hope that they will assist in overcoming or reducing the problems of delays in divorce proceedings.

Process and procedure

1. Uniform procedures in all Syariah Courts to overcome the problems and confusion caused by lack of uniformity.
2. Counselling sessions should be voluntary, not mandatory, and should be conducted by qualified and gender sensitive counsellors. Time limits of 3 to 6 months should be set.
3. Summary proceedings should be provided for in ta'liq cases, as they are provided for in talaq cases. In cases of discrepancy over evidence, the wife's solemn oath that the husband has breached any of the conditions in the marriage contract, should be sufficient for the judge to grant the divorce.
4. Divorce, once granted by a Syariah Court, should not be appealable. While a decision rejecting a divorce application may be appealed against, if a divorce has already been granted, then appealable issues should only relate to the question of ancillary reliefs.

Appointment of judges and officers

5. Increase the number of Syariah judges and court officers. Include the appointment of women as Syariah judges. Better incentives should be provided for these posts to attract more qualified persons.
6. Gender sensitisation courses to be conducted for Syariah Judges and court officers.

Legal counsel

7. Increase the number of officers at the Legal Aid Bureau.
8. Set up a body such as a Syariah Bar Council to monitor the Syariah lawyers and to provide an avenue to settle clients grievances.
9. Provide the space for Legal Aid Clinics to be set up at the court to assist women who are representing themselves.

We reiterate our hope that the recent amendment to the Federal Constitution will be a major step forward in the process to end all forms of discrimination against Muslim women in law and in practice, and to ensure the realization of the principles of equality and justice that is enshrined in the teaching of Islam.

Sisters In Islam
Memorandum Pembaharuan Proses Perceraian dan Tuntutan Sampingan Dalam Prosiding Mahkamah Syariah
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Dikemukakan pada tahun 2000
Hasil Projek Kajian Kes dan Pengalaman Wanita di Wilayah Persekutuan dan Selangor pada tahun 1999 oleh Sisters in Islam dengan kerjasama Pusat Khidmat Wanita Pertiwi (PKWP)

A. PENGENALAN
Memorandum ini adalah hasil daripada projek yang bertujuan untuk mengkaji prosiding dan pengalaman wanita Islam dalam proses peceraian serta tuntutan sampingan iaitu tuntutan nafkah isteri, mut’ah dan harta sepencaraian, serta juga hak jagaan, lawatan dan nafkah anak. Matlamat utama Sisters in Islam (SIS) ialah untuk memperkembangkan kefahaman Islam yang mengiktiraf kesaksamaan di antara kaum wanita dan lelaki berasaskan prinsip-prinsip keadilan yang termaktub dalam ajaran Islam.

Suatu usaha utama untuk mencapai matlamat tersebut ialah dengan mengenalpasti masalah-masalah yang boleh membawa kepada ketakadilan, misalnya masalah penangguhan kes, dan mengesyorkan pindaan dan pembaharuan kepada amalan dan prosedur undang-undang bagi menghapuskan ketakadilan dan melicinkan proses pentadbiran undang-undang keluarga Islam di negara ini.

Dalam kajian ini, pihak SIS dengan kerjasama Pusat Khidmat Wanita Pertiwi (PKWP) yang mengadakan khidmat nasihat bagi golongan ibu tunggal, telah melihat kepada pengalaman dan pandangan wanita dalam beberapa kes, terutamanya di Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor. Hampir 40 orang wanita telah ditemuduga dalam kajian ini, dan mereka termasuklah wanita yang pernah, dan juga wanita yang sedang, terlibat dalam proses perceraian dan tuntutan sampingan.

Laporan hasil kajian tersebut telah dibentangkan oleh pihak SIS dalam Bengkel Kajian Kes:Pengalaman Wanita dalam Prosiding Mahkamah Syariah (Tumpuan Utama kepada Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor) yang diadakan pada 13 dan 14 November 1999. Isu-isu yang dikemukakan telah dibincangkan pada Bengkel tersebut dan berbagai cadangan bagi cara penyelesaian dan pembaharuan telah disyorkan.

Dalam mengkaji dan membincangkan isu-isu yang dibangkitkan, pendekatan sosiologi juga digunakan kerana faktor manusia adakalanya lebih penting daripada undang-undang memandangkan manusialah yang melaksanakan undang-undang tersebut. Jika pelaksanaan undang-undang kurang berkesan oleh kerana faktor manusia, maka hasilnya tidaklah memuaskan walaupun jika undang-undang itu sendiri mungkin sudah cukup memuaskan. Tambahan pula kes-kes di bawah undang-undang keluarga melibatkan emosi manusia dan bukannya harta benda sahaja. Kajian kes tersebut adalah dibentangkan dari sudut pandangan terdekat dan kemusykilan pihak wanita itu sendiri untuk mencungkil fakta realiti hidup dan kesan pengalaman yang ditinggalkan kepada para wanita tersebut.

Realiti pengalaman wanita itu mungkin tidak digambarkan dalam laporan atau dokumen rasmi, misalnya catatan rasmi mungkin menyatakan keputusan telah tercapai melalui persetujuan bersama, tetapi sebenarnya wanita itu dalam keadaan tertekan semasa memberi persetujuaanya. Laporan rasmi juga mungkin menunjukkan bahawa pihak suami/bapa telah diperintahkan membayar nafkah bulanan, tetapi realitinya nafkah itu tidak pernah dibayar dan pihak isteri/ibu merasakan tidak mampu atau tidak terdaya untuk megambil tindakan selanjutnya untuk penguatkuasaan.

Memorandum ini adalah bertujuan untuk membawa perubahan yang memberangsangkan kepada pelaksanaan Undang-undang Keluarga Islam. Pembaharuan adalah amat diperlukan kerana terdapat banyak kemusykilan pihak wanita yang membawa kebimbangan bahawa terdapat bias atau prasangka yang wujud terhadap para wanita. Pembaharuan bolehlah diusahakan melalui “Penggalakan”, “Pencegahan”, “Pencelahan”, dan “Pemulihan”.

Kemusykilan yang disuarakan dan cadangan serta syor yang dikemukakan bolehlah dibahagikan kepada isu-isu utama yang berikut, iaitu mengenai:

· Perceraian;

· Nafkah Isteri, Mut’ah dan Harta Sepencarian;

· Jagaan, Lawatan dan Nafkah Anak,

Selain daripada itu, terdapat juga kemusykilan yang disuarakan dan cadangan serta syor yang dikemukakan mengenai

· Khidmat Guaman dan Pembelaan Diri, serta

· Pentadbiran dan Proses di Jabatan Agama dan Mahkamah,

dan juga pembaharuan dan kefahaman undang-undang serta kesedaran pada amnya.

B. PANDANGAN DAN KEMUSYKILAN

I. Perceraian
1. Wanita yang memperolehi perceraian ta’liq

Terdapat banyak pandangan negatif dikemukakan, termasuklah bahawa sesi kaunseling membazirkan masa dan tidak memberi kesan positif, pentadbiran tidak cekap, proses perbicaraan panjang dan banyak penangguhan, adakala hakim tidak hadir, adakala peguam atau pihak suami tidak hadir, pihak mahkamah tidak menjalankan tanggungjawab dengan seadilnya, lebih memberi peluang atau meihak kepada lelaki.

Terdapat juga beberapa pandangan positif termasuklah proses perceraian berjalan dengan lancar apabila mahkamah tegas, kes memakan masa yang lama sebelum ke mahkamah tetapi tiada masalah setelah sampai ke mahkamah dan hakim memahani situasi isteri. Ada juga dikatakan bahawa proses tuntutan perceraian dilakukan dengan lebih cepat dan licin berbanding dengan tuntutan wang dan harta.

2. Wanita yang sedang dalam proses permohonan cerai (ta’liq atau fasakh)

Terdapat banyak pandangan dikemukakan, termasuklah bahawa sesi kaunseling tidak berkesan, hanya menyuruh isteri supaya lebih bersabar dan hanya memenuhi permintaan suami. Mengenai proses bagi pebicaraan pula, dikatakan terlalu rumit dan banyak dokumen yang perlu dikemukakan, seolah-olah hendak membuktikan kes jenayah.

Kerumitan proses menyebabkan terlalu lama kes berlanjutan dan dikatakan pihak mahkamah lebih memberatkan keterangan dari pihak suami dan isteri berasa teraniaya dengan tuduhan nusyuz yang sering dikemukakan. Kes juga dikatakan tertangguh dengan begitu lama, dengan mahkamah melebihkan lelaki daripada wanita dari segi peluang dan masa, dan kurang kerjasama daripada pihak Biro Bnatuan Guaman dalam usaha supaya kes dipanggil untuk dibicarakan di mahkamah.

3. Wanita dalam kes perceraian talaq atas kehendak suami

Terdapat banyak pandangan negatif dikemukakan, dengan dikatakan perceraian menjadi begitu mudah sekali termasuk perceraian tanpa saksi dan terdapat juga isteri yang diceraikan tanpa pengetahuannya. Perceraian tanpa pengetahuan isteri dikatakan suatu penganiayaan lebih-lebih lagi apabila surat cerai lambat diterima menyebabkan tuntutan mut’ah tertangguh. Terdapat juga isteri yang diceraikan walaupun bersetuju untuk berpoligami dan tidak minta untuk bercerai.

Perceraian dengan tuduhan isteri nusyuz juga dibenarkan dengan isteri diceraikan tanpa pengetahuannya, tanpa memanggil isteri dan tanpa perbicaraan. Hal-hal sedemikian menyebabkan ada wanita yang mengatakan tidak ada keadilan, tolak ansur dan perasaan timbang rasa antara pihak Jabatan Agama mahkamah dan memberi tanggapan bahawa Jabatan Agama dan pihak mahkamah berpihak kepada lelaki.

4. Wanita dalam kes perceraian atau pengesahan talaq melalui persetujuan bersama

Terdapat banyak pandangan negatif dikemukakan termasuklah bahawa proses kaunseling tidak memberi penjelasan mengenai soal dan hak suami isteri dalam perceraian, dan tidak berjaya kerana lebih memihak kepada suam, dengan isteri hanya disuruh bersabar.

Terdapat juga pihak wanita yang menyatakan bahawa persetujuan isteri ke atas syarat-syarat yang dikenakan oleh suami, misalnya untuk menggugurkan tuntutan kewangan, diperolehi semasa isteri dalam keadaan tertekan dan mahkamah tidak prihatin mengenai keadaan ini. Pihak mahkamah lebih suka menyuruh suami isteri mengadakan perbincangan di luar mahkamah sebelum proses perbicaraan dijalankan, dan hanya bersetuju dengan apa yang dibincangkan di luar mahkamah tanpa cuba masuk campur untuk menjaga kebajikan dan hak isteri dan menegakkan keadilan. Ini menyusahkan pihak isteri, terutamanya isteri yang tidak mengetahui haknya di dalam perceraian.

Kemusykilan juga disuarakan bahawa sekiranya lelaki yang inginkan perceraian, ia sangat mudah untuk diperolehi, akan tetapi, jika wanita yang menuntut cerai, adalah sesuatu yang sukar dicapai. Selagi suami tidak bersetuju dengan peceraian, mahkamah mengambil masa yang lama walaupun rumahtangga suami isteri tersebut tidak dapat diselamatkan lagi, dan ada saksi-saksi untuk menyokong kenyataan ini.

Pandangan positif yang dikemukakan ialah bahawa perceraian berjalan lancar sekiranya terdapat kerjasama suami dan persetujuan suami isteri telah diperolehi di luar mahkamah.

II. Nafkah isteri, mut’ah dan harta sepencarian
1. Masalah membuat tuntutan

Pandangan yang dikemukakan mengatakan terdapat banyak masalah dalam membuat tuntutan dan kurang keprihatinan dalam menjaga hak seseorang isteri yang mengakibatkan ketakadilan. Masalahnya termasuklah masalah membuat tuntutan berasingan misalnya tuntutan khusus untuk mut’ah dan harta sepencarian. Ada juga isteri yang dituduh materialistik kerana mengisi Borang Tuntutan untuk nafkah, mut’ah dan harta sepencarian walaupun Borang Tuntutan disediakan mengikut undang-undang dan isteri berhak membuat tuntutan tersebut. Suami sepatutnya bertanggungjawab dan tidak membuat tuduhan sedemikian. Terdapat juga tekanan oleh suami ke atas isteri yang menyebabkan isteri bersetuju tidak membuat tuntutan nafkah iddah, mut’ah dan harta sepencarian demi meperolehi persetujuan suami untuk perceraian.

2. Hak isteri yang diceraikan
Terdapat juga beberapa pandangan daripada pihak isteri yang diceraikan atas kehendak suami dan juga yang bercerai melaui persetujuan bersama bahawa kepentingan dan kebajikan isteri tidak dijaga mengenai hak yang mereka perolehi dalam perceraian. Terdapat tanggapan bahawa Jabatan Agama dan pihak mahkamah berpihak kepada lelaki dan mahkamah hanya menetapkan jumlah yang dipersetujui oleh suami tanpa cuba campurtangan untuk menegakkan keadilan.

Tuntutan untuk tunggakan nafkah isteri dikatakan hanya membuang masa dan tenaga, jumlah nafkah iddah dan mut’ah sangat rendah berbanding dengan jumlah yang dituntut, dan isteri disuruh jangan membebankan suami dengan meminta jumlah yang besar, padahal suami mampu berkahwin lain.

Walupun kebanykan pandangan yang disuarakan aalah pandangan negatif, terdapat juga sedikit pandangan positif daripada seorang isteri yang mendapat nafkah iddah dan mut’ah yang dituntut.

3. Tempoh membuat tuntutan
Tuntutan kewangan juga mengambil masa yang agak lama untuk selesai, dan walaupun kes perceraian selesai, soal wang dan harta belum selesai kerana perlu menunggu lepas iddah dan dapat surat cerai, maka barulah tuntutan seterusnya boleh dibuat. Pennagguhan kes yang mengambil masa yang lama juga membawa kepada masalah dalam bantuan guaman kerana peguam Biro sentiasa bertukar.

4. Beban pembuktian
Masalah mengenai beban pembuktian untuk menujukkan pendapatan dan kemampuan suami yang kerja sendiri juga dikemukakan. Terdapat suami yang memberi keterangan bahawa dia tidak ada harta walaupun dia sebenarnya memindah milik harta kepada keluarganya selepas tuntutan harta sepencarian dibuat. Terlalu banyak peluang dalam segenap sudut dikatakan diberikan kepada pihak lelaki, menyebabkan keputusan yang patut senang diperolehi mengambil masa yang begitu panjang, walaupun jelas kemampuan suami untuk memberi apa yang dituntut oleh isteri.

5. Masalah penguatkuasaan
Masalah mengenai penguatkuasaan pula ialah kurang ketegasan dalam mengeluarkan waran tangkap ke atas suami yang enggan menurut perintah mahkamah. Terdapat juga kes di mana walaupun waran tangkap dikeluarkan oleh mahkamah, ia tidak berkesan dan gagal menangani masalah suami yang melanggar perintah pihak mahkamah..

III. Jagaan, lawatan dan nafkah anak
Berbagai masalah dan kemusykilan disuarakan oleh pihak ibu tunggal mengenai soal berkaitan dengan jagaa, lawatan dan nafkah anak.

1. Hak jagaan

Ada wanita yang mengatakan persetujuannya untuk memberi hak jagaan anak kepada suami diperolehi semasa isteri dalam keadaan tertekan, hak lawatan ibu pula terlalu suntuk, dan fail baru perlu dibuka untuk meminta hak bemalamam. Ada kes yang ditangguhkan hingga hingga mengambil masa bertahun-tahun, akibatnya hubungan anak dan ibu menjadi renggang, dan anak tidak rapat atau mahu mengikut ibu lagi.

2. Hak lawatan
Ada juga wanita yang menyatakan mengalami kederitaan mental apabila anak-anak diambil oleh bapa yang menuduh ibu tidak layak menjaga anak kerana nusyuz. Terdapat suatu kes di mana mahkamah mengeluarkan perintah tegahan ex parte menghalang ibu melawat anak semasa dalam proses kes perceraian. Pihak suami telah meminta dan mendapatkan perintah ex-parte (satu pihak) di mahkamah dan pihak isteri langsung tidak tahu menahu tentang hal tersebut pada ketika itu.

Masalah ini menjadi lebih berat lagi kerana biasanya perintah ex parte terus berkuatkuasa sehingga mahkamah menyelesaikan segala tuntutan yang berkaitan dalam kes itu. Terdapat juga kes di mana mahkamah memberi hak lawatan kepada ibu, tetapi bapa tidak membenarkan ibu melawat anak.

Dalam kes anak di dalam jagaan ibu, dia dituduh menghina mahkamah kerana dikatakan tidak membenar bapa melawat anak padahal bapa yang dahulunya tidak berminat melawat anak dan tidak pernah membayar nafkah anak.

3. Nafkah anak
i. Bapa tidak membayar nafkah

Ada bapa yang dikatakan langsung tidak membayar nafkah anak, misalnya kes di mana perintah interim nafkah ditarik balik apabila bapa kata dia tidak mampu membayar nafkah tersebut, tanpa digantikan dengan peintah interim lain kalaupun jumlah hendak dikurangkan atas permohonan bapa. Ibu yang mendapat jagaan anak juga terpaksa membuka fail baru untuk tuntutan nafkah anak. Tuntutan nafkah anak tertangguh dengan begitu lama dan disebabkan lambatnya proses perbicaraan menyebabkan ibu tidak lagi mengambil kisah untuk meneruskan tuntutan.

ii. Jumlah nafkah tidak mencukupi
Terdapat keadaan di mana walaupun bapa membayar nafkah anak, jumlah itu dikatakan tidak mencukupi kerana tidak mendapat jumlah yang berpatutan untuk nafkah anak-anak, mahkamah hanya meluluskan jumlah nafkah yang dicadangkan oleh bapa tanpa cuba campurtangan untuk menjaga kebajikan anak, wang nafkah yang ditetapkan terlalu sedikit dan tidak cukup untuk pembiayaan anak, dan jumlah yang dibenarkan terlalu rendah berbanding dengan jumlah yang dituntut.

4. Masalah penguatkuasaan

Penguatkuasaan perintah nafkah dikatakan suatu masalah besar apabila bapa tidak bertanggungjawab. Ada kes di mana walaupun hakim menambah jumlah nafkah apabila ibu membuat permohonan nafkah anak, penguatkuasaannya tidak tegas dan bapa ingkar kepada perintah mahkamah. Terdapat kemusykilan mengapa tindakan tidak diambil walupun ibu membuat aduan bapa tidak membayar nafkah. Penguatkusaan tunggakkan nafkah anak juga tidak tegas walaupun bapa telah banyak kali tidak bayar nafkah bertahun-tahun. Pihak ibu terpaksa bersusah payah untuk berulang alik ke mahkamah untuk proses penguatkusaaan. Walaupun waran tangkap dikeluarkan, bapa pernah dapat melepaskan diri dengan membuat pembayaran nafkah separuh sahaja.

IV. Khidmat Guaman dan Pembelaan Diri

1. Masalah fee guaman
Telah didapati bahawa ramai para wanita tidak mampu membayar yuran peguam dan juga terdapat perbezaan besar di antara yuran yang dikenakan oleh peguam-peguam kerana bayaran tidak ditetapkan di antara satu peguam dan peguam yang lain.

Biasanya apa yang berlaku apabila kes cuba dikemukakan di mahkamah ialah pihak isteri akan menghadapi masalah dalam pembayaran fee guaman, kerana isteri kurang mampu dan bayaran yang dikenakan agak tinggi dan membebankan. Ini berpunca kerana:

· Tiada peraturan -- tidak ada badan yang menetapkan bayaran yuran yang disyorkan.

· Tiada skala ditetapkan -- tiada skala tetap yang dapat menentukan jumlah bayaran yang berpatutan dengan kemampuan para wanita.

2. Biro Bantuan Guaman
Biro Bantuan Guaman pula kurang kakitangan dan terlalu banyak kes dikendalikan oleh pihak Biro menyebabkan pihak yang mengguna khidmat Biro terpaksa menunngu masa yang lama sebelum kes dikemukakan di mahkamah.

3. Pembelaan Diri
Akibat daripada kurang kemampuan pihak isteri untuk memperolehi khidmat peguam, dan kekurangan kakitangan Biro Bantuan Guaman, ada di antara isteri yang membela diri sendiri di mahkamah. Pihak hakim mendapati hal ini melengahkan lagi proses perbicaraan kerana para wanita itu kurang memahami sepenuhnya bahawa undang-undang, kurang berpengetahuan mengenai prosedur mahkamah dan ini biasanya mengakibatkan penangguhan kes. Misalnya dalam suatu kes pihak isteri membuat permohonan perceraian di bawah seksyen 47 yang memerlukan persetujuan suami, dan tidak faham yang dia sepatutnya membuat permohonan untuk cerai fasakh. Wanita yang tidak mampu peguam dan tidak memahami proses mahkamah mugkin menyerah bulat-bulat kepada hakim untuk menyelesaikan kesnya.

V. Pentadbiran dan Proses di Jabatan Agama dan Mahkamah

1. Peringkat Jabatan dan Peringkat Mahkamah
Proses perceraian atas permohonan pihak isteri memakan masa yang lama dari masa aduan mula dibuat dan perbicaraan kes, dan oleh kerana banyak peringkat yang dilalui di bawah permohonan tersebut, terdapat juga kekeliruan di kalangan para wnita mengenai peringkat jabatan dan peringkat mahkamah, misalnya mengenai peringkat sesi kaunseling. Masalah kelewatan kes menjadi lebih ketara lagi kerana tiada had masa ditetapkan bagi tempoh kaunseling dan prosedur seterusnya dalam proses perceraian

2. Kekurangan kakitangan

Masalah kekurangan bilangan kakitangan Mahkamah Syariah adalah ketara apabila dibandingkan dengan kes yang makin bertambah setiap hari. Misalnya, bailif amat diperlukan kerana pendaftar juga dibebani dengan tugas bailif. Adakalanya pendaftar tiada di mahkmah dan jika seseorang ke mahkamah untuk mendapatkan pengesahan pendaftar bagi suatu afidavit, orang itu terpaksa berulang-alik ke mahkamah semata-mata untuk dokumen tersebut.

C. SYOR DAN CADANGAN

I. Perceraian
1. Perjanjian Ta’liq
Perjanjian Ta’liq perlu digubal semula demi menjaga kebajikan wanita. Di samping syarat-syarat asas yang dimasukkan dalam borang perjanjian ta’liq, syarat-syarat tambahan yang boleh dimasukkan atas pilihan pasangan-pasangan individu patutlah juga disediakan.

2. Bukti Perceraian Ta’liq

Jika suami telah melanggar perjanjian Ta’liq yang dibuat, maka apabila isteri menuntut Cerai Ta’liq tiada sebab mengapa pihak mahkamah masih membicarakan kes tersebut. Sepatutnya, hukuman dijatuhkan dan kes diselesaikan dengan secepat yang mungkin. Untuk perceraian Ta’liq, sepatutnya memadai dengan ada saksi yang menyatakan perjanjian ta’liq telah dilanggar, tidak perlu membawa banyak sangat bukti dan perbicaraan yang panjang kerana ia hanya membuang masa dan tenaga. Bukti dalam bentuk sumpah oleh pihak isteri dan dua orang saksi patutlah diterima sebagai mencukupi untuk menjatuhkan cerai Ta’liq.

3. Tuduhan nusyuz
Pihak mahkamah menyebelahi lelaki -- mahkamah sepatutnya lebih teliti dalam sesuatu kes dan tidak menerima pernyataan suami secara menyeluruh, contohnya, dalam soal nusyuz, hakim tidak patut menerima apa sahaja tuduhan yang lemparkan oleh pihak suami -- berkemungkinan isteri bertindak sedemikian atas alasan yang kukuh. Sikap prasangka terhadap wanita dalam soal nusyuz di mana nusyuz diberatkan ke atas wanita dan tidak pula kepada lelaki patutlah dihapuskan. Pendekatan tersebut perlulah diubah. Al-Qur’an ada menyebut nusyuz di dalam konteks suami dan isteri tetapi di dalam undang-undang keluarga Islam di Negeri Selangor, nusyuz hanya wujud untuk pihak isteri sahaja.

4. Perceraian oleh suami di luar mahkamah

Sebahagian besar perceraian atas kehendak suami berlaku di luar mahkamah. Denda RM1000 bukanlah suatu pencegahan bagi perceraian yang berlaku di luar mahkamah kerana boleh dibayar dengan mudah oleh para pesalah. Keperluan kebenaran dari mahkamah untuk berpoligami juga bukanlah suatu pencegahan untuk pihak lelaki yang berniat untuk berpoligami, dan poligami yang tidak bertanggungjawab merupakan suatu punca utama masalah keruntuhan rumahtangga. Cara pencegahan yang lebih berkesan, seperti mengenakan hukuman penjara mandatori, diperlukan bagi menghalang poligami tanpa kebenaran mahkamah dan perceraian di luar mahkamah.

5. Keganasan suami
Dalam kes yang melibatkan keganasan suami terhadap isteri, mahkamah perlu membenarkan perceraian seberapa cepat yang boleh kerana nyawa isteri terancam jika masih bersama suami.

II. Nafkah Isteri, Mut’ah dan Harta Sepencarian

1. Menunggu proses perceraian

Dicadangkan supaya kaveat (bagi hartanah) dan perintah tegahan (bagi harta lain) untuk melindungi kepentingan isteri dan menghalang suami daripada memindahmilik harta benda semasa menunggu penyelesaian proses perceraian.

2. Tuntutan berasingan dan pencatuman tuntutan

Tuntutan-tuntutan tunggakan nafkah isteri, nafkah iddah, mut'ah dan harta sepencarian – tuntutan yang jumlahnya tidak melebihi RM100,000 mungkin lebih baik dicantumkan tetapi jumlah yang melebihi RM100,000 mungkin lebih baik diasingkan kerana bidangkuasanya di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah. Dicadangkan supaya isteri diberi pilihan sama ada hendak mengasingkan atau mencaantumkan tuntutan.

3. Nafkah isteri dan nafkah iddah

i. Nafkah isteri

Tunggakan nafkah isteri yang tidak dibayar semasa perkahwinan perlu ditekankan.. Dicadangkan diadakan ukuran untuk tunggakan nafkah isteri pada skala tidak kurang daripada kadar satu pertiga (1/3) pendapatan suami.

ii. Nafkah iddah

Nafkah iddah hanya untuk tempoh 3 bulan 10 hari sahaja Bagi nafkah iddah, hukum syara memerintahkan supaya isteri dalam tempoh iddah sepatutnya masih menikmati taraf hidup yang sama seperti dam tempoh perkahwinan. Oleh kerana pada hakikatnya, isteri mengalami perbelanjaan yang lebih dalam tempoh iddah kerana perlu mencari tempat tinggal baru, dan nafkah iddah hanyalah untuk tempoh yang terhad, dicadangkan supaya skala nafkah iddah lebih tinggi daripada skala tunggakan nafkah isteri, iaitu pada kadar tidak kurang daripada separuh (1/2) pendapatan suami.

4. Mut’ah

i. Mas kahwin dan hantaran

Tiada ukuran maksimum tetapi sepatutnya ada ukuran minimum tidak kurang daripada mas kahwin dan hantaran. Sebaliknya, bayaran kepada suami dalam cerai khulu’ sepatutnya tidak melebihi jumlah maskahwin dan hantaran.

ii. Kemampuan suami dan tempoh perkahwinan

Kemampuan pihak suami suatu faktor utama untuk menentukan jumlah mut’ah. Di samping itu, tempoh perkahwinan juga patut diambil kira dalam menentukan jumlah mut’ah. Di Singapura dan Iran, mut’ah adalah berasaskan tempoh perkahwinan. Di Mesir juga, tempoh perkahwinan merupakan suatu faktor yang mempengaruhi jumlah mut’ah.

5. Harta sepencarian

Sumbangan para isteri perlu ditekankan – ada isteri yang memberi lebih sumbangan kerana sumbangannya merangkumi sumbangan kewangan serta juga sumbangan kerja rumah.

i. Pembahagian sepertiga kepada isteri

Pembahagian satu pertiga kepada pihak isteri dan dua pertiga kepada pihak suami patutlah terpakai kepada kes di mana isteri tidak memberi sumbangan kewangan dan hanya memberi sumbangan dalam bentuk menemani suami dan menjaga rumahtangga dan keluarga.

ii. Pembahagian sama rata

Dalam kes di mana isteri juga memberi sumbangan kewangan, atau harta itu telah didaftarkan dalam kedua-dua nama suami isteri, pada amnya pembahagian patutlah sama rata antara suami isteri.

iii. Pembahgian lebih separuh kepada isteri

Malah isteri yang menunjukkan bahawa dia memberi lebih sumbangan daripada suami, misalnya dengan memberi sumbangan kewangan dan juga menjaga rumahtangga, patutlah diberi bahagian yang lebih daripada separuh harta sepencarian itu.

6. Pembuktian pendapatan dan harta

Dicadangan proses mahkamah secara automtaik bagi mendapatkan slip gaji, penyata KWSP, penyata cukai pendapatan yang boleh memberi maklumat kepada mahkamah tentang kedudukan kewangan pihak suami, cabutan hak milik hartanah, akaun bank, sijil saham, kad kredit, insuran nyawa, rekod JPJ tentang pemilikan kenderaan dan lain-lain dokumen mengenai sumber pendapatan dan harta benda.

Mahkamah juga perlu prihatin mengenai pindahmilik harta yang dilakukan bagi mengelakkan tuntutan harta sepencarian dan mengenepikan pindahmilik sedemikian.

7. Masalah tekanan atas isteri untuk tidak membuat tuntutan

Mahkamah perlu bersikap sensitif dan hendaklah mengambilkira keadaan isteri yang tidak membuat tuntutan. Isteri sepatutnya dibenarkan membuat tuntutan semula di mahkamah walaupun pada asalnya dia bersetuju tidak akan membuat apa-apa tuntutan. Mahkamah perlu menyedari dan menerima penerangan isteri yang pada masa itu, dia mungkin berada di dalam keadaan yang tertekan. Latihan “gender sensitisation” perlu untuk menimbulkan kesedaran pihak mahkamah.

8. Masalah penguatkuasaan

Cadangan-cadangan bagi masalah penguatkuasaan ada dinyatakan dalam bahagian seterusnya, iaitu berhubungan dengan masalah penguatkuasaan nafkah anak.

III. Jagaan, Lawatan dan Nafkah Anak

1. Jagaan

Mahkamah perlulah mengikut apa yang dikatakan dalam undang-undang jika peruntukan undang-undang itu jelas. Jika budi bicara diperlukan, mestilah mengambil kira kepentingan anak. Ada kalanya anak-anak terpisah antara satu sama lain kerana mahkamah membahagikan hak jagaan di antara ibu dan bapa. Dalam keadaan sedemikian hak lawatan perlulah diatur dengan cara sebaiknya supaya adik beradik itu boleh meluangkan masa bersama.

2. Lawatan

Terdapat juga bapa yang tidak pernah kenal anak pada mulanya, kemudian pula memohon hak lawatan apabila anak sudah besar. Setiap ibu dan bapa memanglah patut diiktiraf mempunyai hak lawatan terhadap anaknya yang tidak boleh diketepikan sekalipun salah satu pihak dikategorikan sebagai “jahat”. Dalam hal keadaan bapa yang dahulu tidak langsung kenal anak (dan dengan itu anak tidak senang dengan bapanya) atau bapa yang dikhuatiri menganiayai anak -- di atas prinsip tidak mahu menidakkan hubungan anak dan bapa, mahkamah patutlah memerintahkan lawatan yang diselia (supervised visit).

3. Nafkah anak

i. Prosedur segera diperlukan

Masalah prosedur berasingan atau sekaligus – dicadangkan nafkah anak hendaklah segera diperintahkan dalam prosiding perceraian sama ada cerai talaq, ta’liq, fasakh atau khulu’.Nafkah anak adalah hak anak dan perlulah diutamakan dengan tidak mengira jenis perceraian di antara ibu bapa mereka atau peringkat proses perceraian itu – anak mesti mendapat nafkah daripada bapanya.

ii. Harta dan obligasi bapa

Masalah bapa menukar hakmilik harta atau memberi alasan tiada wang kerana obligasi hutang/pinjaman jangka panjang – dicadangkan diadakan peruntukan undang-undang yang memberikuasa kepada mahkamah untuk menghalang bapa menukar milik harta, dan peruntukan undang-undang yang menghadkan jenis-jenis dokumen yang boleh dijadikan bukti mengenai keberhutangan pihak bapa dan tidak menerima perakuan bapa itu sahaja.

iii. Jumlah nafkah
Kepentingan anak perlu diutamakan – jumlah nafkah mestilah menggambarkan kepentingan anak – dicadangkan dikeluarkan pekeliling kehakiman yang menggariskan quantum minimum bagi nafkah anak dan mengarahkan supaya mengambilkira keperluan istimewa pihak anak (misalnya keadaan kesihatan), jika ada.

iv. Perintah nafkah terhadap saudara sebelah bapa

Sekiranya pihak bapa tidak dapat dikesan atau tidak membayar nafkah anak atau tidak membayar nafkah secukupnya, mengeluarkan perintah terhadap saudara sebelah bapa seperti datuk atau bapa saudara anak itu.

4. Masalah penguatkuasaan

Masalah suami atau bapa seringkali engkar membuat bayaran di bawah perintah mahkamah – justeru itu perlu meningkatkan kecekapan prosiding penghinaan mahkamah, misalnya dengan –

· kerjasama pihak polis

· membawa prosiding melalui acara jenayah – mungkin lebih berkesan daripada melalui acara mal – mengeluarkan perintah untuk hukuman penjara kerana menghina mahkamah dengan mengingkari perintah nafkah, misalnya hukuman mandatori minimum tujuh hari sekiranya tidak membayar nafkah selama tiga bulan

· mengatur hubungan dengan mahkamah negeri lain untuk penguatkuasaan jika bapa lari atau berpindah keluar bidangkuasa mahkamah

· mengeluarkan perintah potongan gaji atau potongan pencen

· mengeluarkan perintah membekukan wang KWSP atau tabung pencen untuk disalurkan bagi pembayaran nafkah isteri dan anak– ini mungkin memerlukan pindaan kepada undang-undang atua peraturan KWSP. Amalan sebgini telah dipraktikkan di Singapura

· membawa prosiding kebankrapan untuk mengisytihar bapa sebagai bankrap

· menubuh agensi penguatkuasaan khas nafkah anak seperti di Britain (Child Support Agency) (bagi penyelesaian jangka panjang). Agensi ini berfungsi sebagai pemerhati terhadap bapa dalam soal pembayaran nafkah terhadap anak.

IV. Khidmat Guaman dan Pembelaan Diri

1. Peguam
i. Kelayakan peguam

Kelayakan guaman bagi peguam syarie perlu dipertingkatkan sejajar untuk meningkatkan kualiti terhadap perundangan Syariah itu sendiri. Asas-asas tertentu perlu ditetapkan agar setaraf dengan kelayakan peguam sivil. Di samping pengetahuan mengenai hukum syara’ peguam syarie juga perlu mendalami pegetahuan mengenai prosedur mahkamah yang tepat seperti peguam sivil.

ii. Majlis Peguam (Bar Council)

Bagi peguam syarie yang juga bertauliah sebagai peguam sivil, dicadangkan segala aduan hendaklah dibuat kepada Bar Council. Disyorkan agar bidangkuasa diberikan kepada Bar Council untuk mengendalikan peguam syarie dengan memperbaiki Akta Profesion Undang-Undang (Legal Profession Act) untuk merangkumi peguam syarie.

Bagi tempoh jangka panjang, mengesyorkan agar ditubuhkan Majlis Peguam Syarie seperti Bar Council untuk semua peguam syarie.

iii. Jawatankuasa Peguam Syarie dan Lesen Peguam

Megesyorkan agar peraturan-peraturan Jawatankuasa Peguam Syarie mengenai kelayakan peguam syarie serta mengenai pemberian, pembaharuan dan pembatalan lesen bagi menjalankan amalan guaman perlu diselenggarakan di setiap negeri dan diselaraskan pada peringkat semua negeri.

iv. Akaun klien

Mengesyorkan agar peguam syarie menjalankan amalan mereka sama seperti peguam sivil di mana mereka mesti menyimpan akaun klien mereka dan audit dijalankan bagi akaun tersebut. Dengan itu, di mana didapati peguam syarie yang tidak amanah dalam menyimpan akaun tesebut, lesen mereka tidak akan diperbaharui.

v. Fee Guaman

Dicadangkan penyelerasan fee guaman, misalnya bagi deposit untuk membuka fail dan pendaftaran kes, dan pembayaran seterusnya berdasarkan perjalanan atau peningkatan sesuatu kes.

2. Biro Bantuan Guaman
Biro Bantuan Guaman perlu menambahkan kakitangan dan mempertingkatkan mutu perkhidmatan supaya dapat menjalankan tugas dengan sebaik mungkin dan tidak melambatkan sesuatu kes.

3. Pembelaan Diri

i. Wanita yang membela diri
Pihak wanita yang tidak mampu mengguna khidmat peguam dan oleh itu membuat pembelaan diri perlulah diberi panduan mengenai soal undang-undang dan prosedur supaya tidak membuat kesilapan yang ketara. Kaedah mahkamah haruslah juga dipermudahkan melalui pindaan atau pembaharuan undang-undang dan prosedur supaya tidak terlalu teknikal dan menyusahkan pihak yang mewakili diri sendiri.

ii. Bimbingan kakitangan mahkamah

Kakitangan mahkamah perlulah memberi bimbingan mengenai prosedur mahkamah seperti dalam pengisian borang, memberitahu sama ada sesuatu tarikh yang ditetapkan itu tarikh sebutan atau perbicaraan, sama ada perlu membawa saksi atau tidak, sama ada saksi lelaki atau perempuan, dan pada amnya memastikan proses boleh berjalan dengan lancar. Bimbingan mengenai prosedur mahkamah yang disyorkan ini tidak bermakna memihak kepada mana-mana pihak dalam kes itu.

iii. Klinik Guaman di Mahkamah

“Muslim Lawyers Association” bersedia meletakkan peguam pelatih (chambering student) bagi perkhidmatan Klinik Guaman di Mahkamah Syariah untuk ditugaskan memberi panduan dan menolong menerangkan prosedur mahkamah. Kerjasama pihak berkuasa mahkamah diperlukan untuk membenarkan tempat ruang pejabat digunakan untuk memberi khidmat ini.

V. Pentadbiran dan Proses di Jabatan Agama dan Mahkamah

1. Kaunseling

Kaunseling adalah proses cuba menyelamatkan perkahwinan. Kaunseling mestilah secara sukarelawan, dijalankan oleh kaunselor yang bertauliah di dalam tempoh yang terhad, iaitu 3 hingga 6 bulan. Laporan hendaklah diberi kepada Pejabat Agama untuk menyatakan sama ada pihak suami isteri bersetuju untuk menghadiri sesi kaunseling atau tidak. Ini adalah supaya bagi mereka yang tidak mahu hadir untuk sesi kaunseling, kes boleh dibawa terus ke mahkamah.

Kaunseling adalah peraturan yang ditetapkan oleh Pejabat Agama dan tidak termaktub di dalam undang-undang. Pengesahan perceraian yang berlaku di luar mahkamah tidak perlu melalui sessi kaunseling. Cadangan juga dibuat supaya unit khas kaunseling diletakkan di bawah Mahkamah Syariah itu sendiri.

2. Mediation

Bagi perkahwinan yang tidak boleh diselamatkan lagi, mediation (pengantaraan) patut dijadikan sesuatu yang wajib dalam prosedur perceraian. Proses mediation dalam masa yang ditetapkan, (misalnya antara 3 hingga 6 bulan) mestilah dikendalikan oleh peguam atau orang terlatih yang berusaha membawa kedua-dua pihak yang terlibat dalam proses perceraian bersetuju mengenai tuntutan masing-masing, atau sekurang-kurangnya mengurangkan perbezaan dan isu-isu yang perlu dibicarakan di mahkamah.. Konsep mediation mestilah difahami, ia adalah untuk menjalankan perceraian dengan cara yang ma’ruf dan baik. Pengantara hendaklah adil, faham hak wanita dan lelaki dalam perceraian, dan arif dalam undang-undang keluarga.

3. Tempoh masa dan penyelenggaraan prosedur

i. Proses mahkamah

Jangkamasa tertentu perlu ditetapkan bagi sesuatu prosedur yang perlu dilalui dalam proses mahkamah agar kes tidak tertangguh begitu lama. Mahkamah perlu ada sistem pengurusan yang lebih cekap dan kemaskini bagi meyelesaikan kes dengan cepat. Pendaftaran kes sepatutnya tidak mengambil masa lebih daripada 21 hari sebelum kes dipanggil.

Dicadangkan penyelarasan beberapa prosedur dibuat melalui Pekeliling Kehakiman (Judicial Circular) misalnya mengenai pengeluaran perintah interim, saksi-saksi yang boleh diterima, tempoh memberi keputusan dan sebagainya.

ii. Pengurusan kes

Dalam pengurusan kes, Mahkamah Syariah boleh mengambil amalan terbaik "best practice" dari Mahkamah Sivil, mengenai jangka waktu yang akan diambil dalam sesuatu kes, berapa orang saksi yang akan dipanggil ke mahkamah, apakah dokumen yang akan dibentangkan dsb. Ini dapat mengesyorkan supaya kes tidak akan berlarutan dan tumpuan tepat diberikan kepada isu-isu utama dalam kes tersebut.

Sekiranya satu pihak masih tidak hadir di mahkamah walaupun saman telah disampaikan, tindakan hendaklah diambil dengan mengeluarkan waran tangkap dan/atau membuat keputusan penghakiman ingkar (judgment in default).

Prosedur mahkamah perlu dimantapkan. Bagi kes yang perlu diselesaikan segera, adakan “certificate of ungency”seperti diamalkan di Mahkamah Sivil. Ia patut diadakan untuk mengadili kes-kes seperti ta’liq, nafkah dan kes-kes yang memerlukan tindakan cepat. Perintah interim perlu dikeluarkan untuk nafkah isteri dan anak, terutama sekali untuk nafkah anak, dan perintah interim memanglah diperuntukkan dalam undang-undang. Undang-undang yang ada pada masa kini mungkin memadai tetapi perlaksanaan undang-undang tersebut tidak memadai.

iii. Perintah ex parte

Dengan mengikit “amalan terbaik’ mahkamah sivil, perintah yang dikeluarkan atas permohonan satu pihak (ex parte) patutlah luput selepas 14 hari dan kedua-dua pihak mesti membuat perrnohonan inter parties selepas itu. Buat masa kini, perintah ex parte di dalam Mahkamah Syariah tidak mempunyai masa luput dan perintah akan luput hanya bila kes yang berkaitan telah selesai. Dengan penetapan tempoh 14 hari tersebut, maka kedua-dua pihak boleh membuat permohonan antara pihak (inter parties) dan dengan itu, sekaligu keadilan bagi pihak-pihak terlibat lebih terpelihara.

iv. Keputusan hakim

Adalah di bawah bidangkuasa hakim untuk memberi keputusan apabila beliau telah bersedia untuk membuat keputusan tersebut. Yang Arif Tuan Haji Mohd. Na'im menyatakan bahawa di dalam mahkamah beliau, beliau akan membuat keputusan di dalam masa dua minggu dan bagi kes-kes yang lurus, beliau akan membuat keputusan pada ketika itu j'uga. Di Mahkamah Sivil iaitu dalam Sessions Court keputusan biasanya diberikan terlebih dahulu dan alasan-alasan penghakiman (grounds of judgement) diberikan kemudian.

Setelah draf perintah dikeluarkan, ia patulah ditandatangani oleh pendaftar dalam tempoh tidak melebihi satu minggu. Catatan keterangan prosiding mahkamah patutlah disediakan dalam tempoh tidak melebih sebulan dan tidak patut ditangguhkan sehingga memakan masaa bertahun.

4. Pentadbiran Mahkamah

i. Taraf mahkamah

Mahkamah Syariah perlu ditingkatkan supaya setaraf dengan Mahkamah Sivil. Bagi tempoh jangka panjang, dicadangkan diwujudkan Mahkamah Keluarga iaitu Mahkamah Keluarga Syariah dan Mahkamah Keluarga Sivil yang selari dan setaraf.

ii. Penambahan bilangan hakim

Bagi menambah bilangan hakim di Mahkamah Syariah, insentif yang menarik perlu diberikan agar lebih ramai orang yang bertauliah dengan kelayakan tinggi dan pengalaman sesuai ingin menjadi hakim, supaya dapat melantik hakim generasi baru yang lebih mahir termasuk hakim wanita. Sekiranya jawatan adalah tinggi bagi hakim Mahkamah Syariah (pendapatan tinggi, faedah dan manfaat yang setaraf dengan hakim Mahkamah Sivil), ini bolehlah menjadi insentif. Buat masa kini, hakim Mahkamah Syariah tidak dapat taraf yang sama dengan hakim Mahkamah Sivil dari segi pengiktirafan, pendapatan, faedah dan manfaat. Status Mahkamah Syariah perlu diangkat agar memperolehi keyakinan daripada berbagai pihak sebagai tempat yang menjunjung keadilan.

iii. Penambahan kakitangan

Di samping menambah bilangan hakim, adalah juga perlu untuk mewujudkan jawatan baru serta menaikkan pengambilan bilangan pegawai dan kakitangan sokongan untuk membantu proses Mahkamah Syariah berjalan dengan lebih cepat dan cekap. Jawatan baru seperti pegawai penyelidik (research officer) patut diwujudkan. Jawatan bailif perlu diasingkan dari jawatan pendaftar.

Di antara perbezaan Mahkamah Syariah dan Mahkamah Sivil ialah hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Sivil diberi seorang penyelidik untuk menolong mendapatkan fail-fail, dokumen-dokumen dan maklumat perundangan yang berkenaan dengan kes jadi keputusan mahkamah dapat diberikan dengan lebih cekap. Tetapi hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah terpaksa membuat semua penyelidikan sendiri kerana tiada peruntukan bagi jawatan penyelidik

iv. Latihan pegawai

Untuk menaikkan status mahkamah, latihan pegawai mahkamah juga perlu ditingkatkan Latihan kepada pegawai mahkamah tidak sahaja tertumpu kepada aspek khusus undang-undang tetapi juga perlu emasukkan elemen “sensitisation” terhadap faktor psiko-sosiologi dalam masalah rumah tangga. Latihan itu juga patulah merangkumi latihan mengenai keprihatinan gender atau "gender sensitisation", misalnya seperti yang terkandung dalam kursus latihan syariah di institut di Indonesia.

v. Peruntukan belanjawan

Peruntukan belanjawan yang lebih tinggi perlu untuk menambah bilangan hakim dan kakitangan, bagi meninggikan taraf mahkamah syariah dan mengadakan latihan bagi meningkatkan kecekapan mahkamah. Dicadangkan supaya pihak berkuasa memperuntukkan wang denda yang dikenakan oleh Mahkamah Syariah sebagai hasil (revenue) untuk menampung kekurangan bagi perbelanjaan mahkamah.

vi. Penyelarasan bidangkuasa dan kerjasama dengan agensi lain

Oleh kerana bidangkuasa negeri tidak merangkumi negeri-negeri lain merumitkan masalah perlaksanaan perintah mahkamah di negeri lain, disyorkan supaya perlu diadakan penyelesaian segera masalah penyelarasan bidangkuasa antara negeri, supaya perintah nafkah yang dikeluarkan oleh Mahkamah Syariah sesuatu negeri boleh dikuatkuasakan secara automatik di negeri yang lain.

Di samping itu, perlulah juga ada penyelarasan dan kerjasama dengan pihak polis supaya bertindak membantu mahkamah dalam masalah tersebut.

D. PENUTUP
Pembaharuan undang-undang dan prosedur

Bagi pihak SIS, pembaharuan yang disyorkan mengenai undang-undang dan prosedur mahkamah dalam memorandum ini adalah dibuat berlandaskan hukum syara’, seperti juga pembaharuan yang disyorkan dalam dua memorandum mengenai pembaharuan undang-undang keluarga Islam di negara ini yang telah dikemukakan kepada pihak berkuasa pada tahun 1997.

Suatu perkara yang merumitkan pelaksanaan undang-undang keluarga Islam di Malaysia dan penguatkuasaan perintah Mahkamah Syariah ialah bidangkuasa berasingan dan undang-undang Syariah yang tidak selaras di antara negeri-negeri. Justeru itu, perlulah diambil tindakan dan susulan yang sepatutnya untuk menjamin kelancaran kerja pihak mahkamah.

Sisters In Islam
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