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 "Suspend the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005" - Media Statement by WAO
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 Proses Rundingan Terhadap Pindaan Kepada Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2005
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Kepada Ahli Dewan Senat untuk Mengkaji Semula Rang Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2005 (8 December 2005)
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Kepada Ahli Dewan Senat  untuk Mengkaji Semula Rang Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2005

8 December 2005


Diserahkan oleh Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG)




Memorandum bersama Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG) ini diserahkan kepada ahli Dewan Senat supaya menarik balik dan mengkaji semula Rang Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2005, yang telah diluluskan dalam persidangan Dewan Rakyat pada 26 September 2005. Walaupun beberapa pindaan dalam Rang tersebut mampu menjamin keadilan bagi wanita Muslim di negara ini, namun kami prihatin dan khuatir terhadap beberapa pindaan lain dalam Rang tersebut kerana ianya akan mengakibatkan diskriminasi dan penganiayaan terhadap wanita.



Malah Dewan Rakyat tidak diberikan masa yang secukupnya untuk membaca dan meneliti Rang Undang-Undang ini. Maka, ahli-ahli tidak berkesempatan untuk berunding dengan pihak-pihak berkenaan dan membahaskan dengan tuntas peruntukan-peruntukan yang mendatangkan kesan diskriminasi terutamanya kepada wanita Islam di Malaysia.



Dengan itu, kami berharap Yang Berhormat Senator-Senator akan mengkaji pindaan-pindaan yang membimbangkan ini dan akan mengesyorkan agar Rang tersebut ditarik balik untuk diteliti dan diperbahaskan semula di Dewan Rakyat.



Latarbelakang



Pada 26hb September, Dewan Rakyat telah meluluskan Rang Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaaan) 2005, dengan tujuan memperbaiki Akta Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1984 dan untuk memastikan agar ianya akan memupuk dan menegakkan keadilan.



Kami menyambut baik beberapa pindaan, khususnya berkenaan dengan tuntutan harta sepencarian oleh isteri apabila suaminya ingin berpoligami dan juga memerlukan isteri, atau isteri-isteri sedia ada, bakal isteri dan bakal wali untuk hadir di Mahkamah. Pindaan sebegini tentunya akan dapat melindungi hak kaum wanita yang selama ini terpaksa menanggung beban diskriminasi akibat dari undang-undang yang kurang prihatin dan kurang peka terhadap hakikat dan keadaan hidup wanita.



Namun terdapat beberapa pindaan yang telah diluluskan yang akan mendatangkan kesan diskriminasi kepada kaum wanita di Malaysia. Antara kesan diskriminasi yang perlu ditekankan di sini ialah:



(1) Seksyen 23(9)(b): Hak suami untuk menuntut harta sepencarian daripada bahagian harta isterinya apabila dia berpoligami.



Pindaan ini menyatakan “…Mahkamah mempunyai kuasa atas permohonan mana-mana pihak kepada perkahwinan untuk memerintahkan apa-apa aset di dalam perkahwinan dibahagi antara mereka atau dijual dan hasil jualan itu dibahagikan. Akibat daripada bahasa “gender neutral” berpilih (“mana-mana pihak”), suami juga boleh menuntut harta sepencarian daripada isteri atau isteri-isteri sedia ada. Kami sangat khuatir peruntukan ini akan disalah gunakan oleh suami yang tidak bertanggungjawab.




Implikasi pindaan ini:



Suami akan dapat menuntut supaya harta isteri sedia ada dibahagikan kepada suami, atau rumah yang mereka diami dijual apabila suami berkahwin lagi, untuk menampung gaya hidup barunya, atau untuk apa saja alasan. Malah, harta yang diberikan sebagai hadiah kepada isteri juga boleh dituntut sebagai harta sepencarian. Ini tentulah tidak adil sama sekali kepada isteri sedia ada dan anak-anak. Hendaklah juga diingat bahawa kecuali dalam kes perceraian khul’, Surah al-Baqarah 2 : 229 melarang suami mengambil balik apa jua yang telah mereka berikan kepada isteri: “tidak halal bagi kamu (suami) mengambil kembali dari sesuatu yang telah kamu berikan kepada mereka (isteri)”.



(2) Seksyen 23(3) dan 23(4)(a): Menjadikan poligami lebih senang terhadap lelaki.



Pindaan ini memberi kelonggaran yang amat tidak adil kepada suami untuk berpoligami. Peruntukan asal Akta Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 1984, seksyen 23 memperuntukkan bahawa perkahwinan yang dicadangkan itu hendaklah “patut dan perlu” tetapi ini dipinda kepada “patut atau perlu”.



Implikasi pindaan ini:



Ini bermakna, suami hanya perlu memenuhi syarat “keperluan” untuk berpoligami dan tidak perlu membuktikan persoalan “kepatutan” kepada Mahkamah. Pindaan ini nampaknya sengaja hendak menolak dan mengetepikan penghakiman Jawatankuasa Rayuan Syariah dalam kes Aishah lawan Wan Mohd Yusof (1990) 7 JH 152 yang telah menekankan bahawa kesemua syarat di bawah subseksyen ini sama pentingnya dan hendaklah dibuktikan berasingan. Pihak suami telah memberi alasan untuk berpoligami bagi maksud menghalalkan pertalian kasih sayangnya dengan perempuan yang berkenaan.



Jawatankuasa Rayuan Syariah berpendapat bahawa walaupun alasan ini mungkin mencukupi untuk memenuhi syarat “keperluan” untuk berpoligami, tetapi ianya tidak ada kena-mengena dengan soal “kepatutan”. Jawatankuasa itu menegaskan bahawa sebagai seorang Islam, dia patut boleh mengawal nafsunya dan mengelakkan diri dari melakukan zina dan perkara maksiat. Oleh itu, Mahkamah berpendapat bahawa walaupun defendan memenuhi syarat “keperluan”, tetapi dia gagal memenuhi syarat “kepatutan” dan permohonannya ditolak.



(3) Seksyen 23(9): Memaksa isteri memilih nafkah ATAU pembahagian harta sepencarian apabila suami berpoligami.



Seksyen ini yang bertujuan untuk melindungi isteri sedia ada dalam perkahwinan poligami boleh mendatangkan ketidakadilan kerana ia sebenarnya memaksa seorang isteri memilih sama ada untuk memohon perintah nafkah ATAU memohon perintah pembahagian harta sepencarian. Ini satu ketidakadilan dan tiada sebarang asas dalam perundangan Islam kerana adalah menjadi satu kewajipan seorang suami untuk menanggung isterinya. Hak isteri untuk menuntut pembahagian harta sepencarian adalah untuk melindungi kepentingan isteri sedia ada dan anak-anak dan juga supaya keadilan terlaksana dalam perkahwinan poligami. Oleh itu, adalah tidak munasabah seorang isteri dipaksa membuat pilihan antara salah satu jaminan kewangannya. Dia berhak terhadap kedua-duanya mengikut perundangan Islam.



(4) Seksyen  52(1): Melanjutkan hak fasakh seorang isteri kepada suaminya.



Hak untuk menuntut fasakh, yang secara tradisinya merupakan hak isteri di bawah perundangan Islam, diberikan juga kepada suami, sedangkan suami masih mempunyai hak untuk mentalaqkan isterinya. Kami mendapati sungguh aneh bahawa apabila terdapat percanggahan pendapat ulama’ mengenai sesuatu kaedah, terdapat kecenderungan menerima pendapat yang lebih memberi faedah kepada pihak suami serta memperluaskan lagi faedah itu. Sebaliknya, apabila terdapat percanggahan pendapat ulama’ mengenai kaedah lain yang boleh memberi faedah kepada pihak isteri, pendapat ini diketepikan dan ditolak (contohnya memberi wanita isma’ atau talaq tafwid [mewakilkan perceraian], dimana suami memberi hak untuk membubarkan perkahwinan kepada isteri sebagaimana beliau boleh membubarkan secara talaq – pendapat perundangan berdasarkan Surah al-Ahzab, 33:28-29).



Implikasi pindaan ini:



Hak suami terhadap perceraian diperluaskan tetapi bagi isteri, hak mereka tetap tidak berubah. Suami pula dengan sewenang-wenangnya boleh melafazkan cerai walaupun isteri tidak redha, malah sekarang, suami diberikan hak untuk fasakh. Tidak terdapat peruntukan seimbang yang menghalang Mahkamah daripada membubarkan perkahwinan walaupun jika pembubaran perkahwinan itu tidak adil bagi isteri. Memberikan suami hak untuk mendapat cerai fasakh membenarkannya melarikan diri dari membayar apa-apa saguhati kepada bekas isteri.



(5) Seksyen 107A: Suami boleh memohon kepada Mahkamah untuk menahan/menegah isteri memindahkan hartanya sendiri.



Di bawah seksyen baru ini, suami boleh menahan/menegah isteri memindahkan hartanya sendiri. Mengikut hukum syarak, isteri tidak bertanggungjawab untuk memberi nafkah. Oleh itu, suami tiada hak ke atas harta isteri, tetapi isteri mempunyai hak ke atas harta suami untuk saraan hidupnya dan anak-anak.



Implikasi pindaan ini:



Pada asalnya, peruntukan dalam Akta 1984 membolehkan Mahkamah membatalkan atau menahan perpindahan harta oleh pihak ibu bapa atau pihak suami yang bertujuan untuk mengurangkan kemampuannya membayar nafkah kepada anak atau isteri, atau mut’ah kepada isteri, atau untuk menghalang isterinya daripada harta itu. Dengan memberikan hak yang tampaknya seperti sama rata kepada suami dan isteri, tetapi implikasinya lebih kepada mendiskriminasikan wanita kerana ini sebenarnya memperluaskan hak lelaki dan membantutkan perkembangan hak wanita.



Pindaan ini yang telah dilaksanakan di Johor, telah mengakibatkan seorang wanita tampil membuat pengaduan bahawa suaminya berjaya mendapat perintah Mahkamah membekukan akaun simpanannya atas alasan tuntutan harta sepencarian. Isteri malang ini menghadapi kesusahan menanggung diri dan anaknya kerana akaun simpanan itulah satu-satunya punca pendapatannya. Suaminya juga tidak memberikan nafkah selama prosiding perceraian berlangsung.



Cadangan



Memandangkan pindaan-pindaan tersebut mempunyai implikasi yang parah kepada prinsip keadilan dan kesaksamaan dalam Islam, JAGGE menyeru Yang Berhormat Senator-Senator agar mempertimbangkan untuk menarik balik Rang Undang-Undang ini supaya ia dapat diteliti dan dibahaskan secara tuntas di Dewan Rakyat, mengambil kira hujahan daripada persatuan wanita dan pihak-pihak lain yang berminat. Buat masa ini, sekiranya Rang Undang-Undang ini akan diluluskan, JAGGE mencadangkan kajian semula dan pindaan kepada seksyen berikut:



(1) Seksyen 23(9)(b): Pindaan ke atas harta sepencarian bagi harta suami yang berpoligami, kebenaran menuntut harta haruslah dihadkan hanya kepada ISTERI;



(2) Seksyen 23(3) dan 23(4)(a): Pindaan kembali kepada seksyen asal, iaitu “patut dan perlu”;
(3) Seksyen 23(9): Seksyen baru ini harus dipinda bagi mengiktiraf hak isteri ke atas nafkah dan harta sepencarian, tanpa memerlukan isteri membuat pilihan antara satu;



(4) Seksyen 52(1): Hak baru suami ke atas cerai fasakh harus dimansuhkan;



(5) Seksyen 107A: Seksyen baru yang membenarkan suami menegah isteri melupuskan hartanya sendiri harus dimansuhkan.



Diserahkan oleh Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG)
Sisters in Islam (SIS)

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)


Women’s Centre for Change Penang(WCC)


Women’s Development Collective (WDC)


MTUC-Women’s Section Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila hubungi Sharifah Mas’ad Azzahir di SIS.



Tel: 7960-6121.  Email:sistersinislam@pd.jaring.my


8 Disember 2005.
To Review the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 (8 December 2005)
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To Review the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005

8 December 2005

Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAGGE)




This memorandum by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAGGE) is handed over to members of Dewan Negara to request a withdrawal and review of  the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005, passed by the Dewan Rakyat on 26 September 2005. Whilst several amendments in this  Bill aim to safeguard the interests of justice for Muslim women in this country, nevertheless we are concerned that these and  other amendments in the Bill will result in further  injustice and discrimination against women.

Furthermore, the Dewan Rakyat was not given ample time to study and scrutinize the Bill. Consequently, Members of Parliament did not have sufficient opportunity to discuss with relevant parties and to cogently debate on those provisions which will have discriminatory effects upon Muslim women in Malaysia.


Therefore we hope that the Senators will re-examine these disturbing amendments and propose that the Bill be withdrawn for review and resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women’s groups and other interested parties.




Background




On 26th September, the Dewan Rakyat  passed the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005. Its aim is to improve the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 and to ensure that justice will be upheld.

We welcome some of the proposed amendments, particularly in respect of claims to harta sepencarian for the existing wife upon her husband’s contracting a polygamous marriage, and the requirement for the existing wife, or wives, prospective wife and her guardian to be present in Court. These positive amendments should ensure protection for the rights of Muslim women after having to endure the hardships inflicted on them by discriminatory laws which are insensitive to the plight faced by Muslim women and the realities in their lives.


However, these amendments and others have discriminatory effects against Muslim women in Malaysia. Amongst the discriminatory amendments that need to be reviewed  are:


1.
Section 23(9):  The right of the husband to claim a share of his existing   wife’s
property upon his polygamous marriage.


This  amendment states “…Every Court that grants the permission or orders a marriage to be registered under this section shall have the power on the application by any party to the marriage… to order the division between the parties of the marriage of any assets acquired by them during the marriage by their joint efforts or the sale of such assets and the division of the proceeds of the sale.” As a result of this selective gender neutral language (“any party”), the husband will also be able to claim harta sepencarian from his existing wife or wives. We are concerned that this provision may be abused by irresponsible husbands.


Its implications:



A husband who is going to marry a new wife will also be entitled to claim part of his existing wife’s assets as harta sepencarian or to apply that their matrimonial home be sold and the proceeds divided in order to support his new lifestyle, or for whatever reason. Property that had already been given by the husband to his wife may also be claimed back as harta sepencarian. This would be grossly unjust to the existing wife and children. It should be remembered that except in cases involving khul’ divorce, Surah al-Baqarah 2: 229 prohibits husbands from reclaiming whatsoever that they had given to their wives: “it is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives)”.

2.
Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a):  Making Polygamy Easier for Men


This amendment makes it easier for men to practise polygamy. The principal provision of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 (IFL Act, 1984), in section 23, provided that the proposed marriage must be “just and necessary”, but this has been amended to “just or necessary”.


Its implications:



The husband will only need to show to the Court that the proposed marriage is “necessary”, and need not bother as to whether it is “just” or not for him to practise polygamy.  This amendment appears to be a deliberate attempt to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee in the case of Aishah vs Wan Mohd Yusof (1990) 7 JH 152, which held that emphasis must be placed on all the conditions under this subsection, and that each condition must be proven separately.

The reason given by the husband for wanting to contract a polygamous marriage was that of legitimising his love for the other woman. The Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee, however,  observed that while this may be sufficient ground to show why the proposed marriage was “necessary”, it has no relevance to the question of whether the proposed marriage was “just”. As a Muslim, he should be in control of his desires and be able to restrain himself from committing adultery and immoral activities. Thus, the court said while the defendant fulfilled the condition for “necessary”, he failed to fulfil the condition for “just”. His application to practise polygamy was rejected.





3. Section 23(9)(a): Forcing a wife to choose maintenance OR division of harta sepencarian upon a husband’s polygamous marriage.

This new section which is intended to protect the existing wife in a polygamous marriage can cause injustice as it forces a wife to choose between alternatives, either to apply for order of mainternance OR to apply for order of division on harta sepencarian. This is unjust and has no basis in Islamic law as it is a mandatory obligation upon the husband to maintain his wife. The additional right for the wife to claim a division on harta sepencarian is to protect the interest of the existing wife and children and to ensure that justice is done in a polygamous marriage. Therefore the wife should not be asked to choose one or the other form of financial security. She is entitled to both under Islamic law.


4. Section 52(1): Extending the wife’s right to fasakh divorce to the husband.


The right to fasakh, which is traditionally a woman’s right under Islamic law is now extended to the husband, even though he still possesses the absolute right to pronounce talaq to divorce his wife. We find it very strange that when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama’ over a certain rule, there is a tendency to adopt that which is more advantageous for the husband, and even to further extend his advantage. On the other hand, when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama’ over another rule which may be advantageous for the wife, the view that is beneficial to the wife is set aside and rejected (for e.g. the rule that extends the right of isma’ or talaq tafwid (delegated divorce) - where the husband delegates to his wife a general right to dissolve the marriage in the same manner as he may dissolve it through talaq – juristic opinion based on Surah al-Ahzab, 33:28-29).


Its Implications:



The husband’s rights to divorce have been further increased but the wife’s rights remain unchanged. The husband can easily, at his whim and fancy, pronounce talaq even when the wife is not willing to be divorced, and now he is to be given a general right to claim fasakh as well. There is no equivalent provision to restrict the Court from dissolving the marriage if the dissolution of marriage would be unjust to the wife. Moreover, the husband’s ability to obtain fasakh divorce enables him to escape paying any form of compensation to his divorced wife.

5.
Section 107A:  A husband can now get a court order to stop his wife from disposing her property.


Under this new section, a husband can prevent/restrain the wife from disposing her property. Under hukum syara’, the wife has no responsibility to provide maintenance. Therefore, the husband has no rights over his wife’s property, but the wife has rights over her husband’s property in respect of maintenance for herself and their children


Its implications:



The original provision in the IFL Act, 1984.  is to enable the Court to set aside and prevent the disposition of property by a husband or parent whose intention is to reduce his means to pay maintenance to wife or children, or his means to pay mut’ah to his former wife, or to deprive his wife of any rights in relation to the property. In making the amendment, the Bill appears to extend equal rights to both husband and wife, but its implication will be to increase discrimination against women as it actually increases men’s rights without any corresponding development with regards to women’s rights.

This amendment already adopted in Johor has led to the first complaint received by us from a woman whose husband  successfully obtained a court order to freeze her bank accounts in order to claim matrimonial property. This has caused her severe hardship as she could not use any of her savings to maintain herself or the children. Neither did the husband provide any form of maintenance while the negotiations for divorce was going on.


Proposals



Considering that the implications of these amendments are gravely detrimental to the principles of justice and equality in Islam, JAGGE urges Senators of the Dewan Negara to consider withdrawing this Bill for further review and scrutiny and that the Bill be then resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women’s groups and other interested parties.  Failing this, should the Bill still be adopted, then JAGGE proposes that the following sections be reviewed and the amendments as we proposed be adopted:



(1) Section 23(9)(b): This amendment on claims for harta sepencarian upon a husband’s polygamous marriage be limited to entitle only the WIFE to apply for harta sepencarian from the husband;

(2)
Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a): These amendments should revert to the original “just and necessary”.


(3)
Section 23(9): This new section should be amended to recognise the wife’s right to maintenance and harta sepencarian, without requiring her to make a choice for  one or the other;


(4)
Section 52(1): This amended section extending the right to  fasakh divorce to the husband should be removed;


(5)
Section 107A: This new section that enables a husband to prevent his wife from disposing her own property should be removed.


Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAGGE)


Sisters in Islam (SIS)


All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)


Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)


Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)


Women’s Development Collective (WDC)


MTUC-Women’s Section
For further information, please contact Sharifah Mas’ad Azzahir at SIS.

Tel: 7960-6121.  Email:sistersinislam@pd.org.my
8 December 2005
Memorandum to Ahli Dewan Negara to Review the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 (8 December 2005)
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Memorandum to Ahli Dewan Negara  to Review the Islamic Family Law  (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005

8 December 2005 


Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG)

This memorandum by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG) is handed over to members of Dewan Negara to request a withdrawal and review of  the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005, passed by the Dewan Rakyat on 26 September 2005. Whilst several amendments in this  Bill aim to safeguard the interests of justice for Muslim women in this country, nevertheless we are concerned that these and  other amendments in the Bill will result in further  injustice and discrimination against women.




Furthermore, the Dewan Rakyat was not given ample time to study and scrutinize the Bill. Consequently, Members of Parliament did not have sufficient opportunity to discuss with relevant parties and to cogently debate on those provisions which will have discriminatory effects upon Muslim women in Malaysia.
Therefore we hope that the Senators will re-examine these disturbing amendments and propose that the Bill be withdrawn for review and resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women’s groups and other interested parties.


Background





On 26th September, the Dewan Rakyat  passed the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005. Its aim is to improve the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 and to ensure that justice will be upheld.
We welcome some of the proposed amendments, particularly in respect of claims to harta sepencarian for the existing wife upon her husband’s contracting a polygamous marriage, and the requirement for the existing wife, or wives, prospective wife and her guardian to be present in Court. These positive amendments should ensure protection for the rights of Muslim women after having to endure the hardships inflicted on them by discriminatory laws which are insensitive to the plight faced by Muslim women and the realities in their lives.


However, these amendments and others have discriminatory effects against Muslim women in Malaysia. Amongst the discriminatory amendments that need to be reviewed  are:




1.
Section 23(9)(b):  The right of the husband to claim a share of his existing   wife’s property upon his polygamous marriage.

This  amendment states “…Every Court that grants the permission or orders a marriage to be registered under this section shall have the power on the application by any party to the marriage… to order the division between the parties of the marriage of any assets acquired by them during the marriage by their joint efforts or the sale of such assets and the division of the proceeds of the sale.” As a result of this selective gender neutral language (“any party”), the husband will also be able to claim harta sepencarian from his existing wife or wives. We are concerned that this provision may be abused by irresponsible husbands.


Its implications:




A husband who is going to marry a new wife will also be entitled to claim part of his existing wife’s assets as harta sepencarian or to apply that their matrimonial home be sold and the proceeds divided in order to support his new lifestyle, or for whatever reason. Property that had already been given by the husband to his wife may also be claimed back as harta sepencarian. This would be grossly unjust to the existing wife and children. It should be remembered that except in cases involving khul’ divorce, Surah al-Baqarah 2: 229 prohibits husbands from reclaiming whatsoever that they had given to their wives: “it is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives)”.



2.
Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a):  Making Polygamy Easier for Men

This amendment makes it easier for men to practise polygamy. The principal provision of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 (IFL Act, 1984), in section 23, provided that the proposed marriage must be “just and necessary”, but this has been amended to “just or necessary”.

Its implications:



The husband will only need to show to the Court that the proposed marriage is “necessary”, and need not bother as to whether it is “just” or not for him to practise polygamy.  This amendment appears to be a deliberate attempt to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee in the case of Aishah vs Wan Mohd Yusof (1990) 7 JH 152, which held that emphasis must be placed on all the conditions under this subsection, and that each condition must be proven separately.
The reason given by the husband for wanting to contract a polygamous marriage was that of legitimising his love for the other woman. The Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee, however,  observed that while this may be sufficient ground to show why the proposed marriage was “necessary”, it has no relevance to the question of whether the proposed marriage was “just”. As a Muslim, he should be in control of his desires and be able to restrain himself from committing adultery and immoral activities. Thus, the court said while the defendant fulfilled the condition for “necessary”, he failed to fulfil the condition for “just”. His application to practise polygamy was rejected.




3. Section 23(9): Forcing a wife to choose maintenance OR division of harta sepencarian upon a husband’s polygamous marriage.
This new section which is intended to protect the existing wife in a polygamous marriage can cause injustice as it forces a wife to choose between alternatives, either to apply for order of mainternance OR to apply for order of division on harta sepencarian. This is unjust and has no basis in Islamic law as it is a mandatory obligation upon the husband to maintain his wife. The additional right for the wife to claim a division on harta sepencarian is to protect the interest of the existing wife and children and to ensure that justice is done in a polygamous marriage. Therefore the wife should not be asked to choose one or the other form of financial security. She is entitled to both under Islamic law.


4. Section 52(1): Extending the wife’s right to fasakh divorce to the husband.

The right to fasakh, which is traditionally a woman’s right under Islamic law is now extended to the husband, even though he still possesses the absolute right to pronounce talaq to divorce his wife. We find it very strange that when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama’ over a certain rule, there is a tendency to adopt that which is more advantageous for the husband, and even to further extend his advantage. On the other hand, when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama’ over another rule which may be advantageous for the wife, the view that is beneficial to the wife is set aside and rejected (for e.g. the rule that extends the right of isma’ or talaq tafwid (delegated divorce) - where the husband delegates to his wife a general right to dissolve the marriage in the same manner as he may dissolve it through talaq – juristic opinion based on Surah al-Ahzab, 33:28-29).



Its Implications:


The husband’s rights to divorce have been further increased but the wife’s rights remain unchanged. The husband can easily, at his whim and fancy, pronounce talaq even when the wife is not willing to be divorced, and now he is to be given a general right to claim fasakh as well. There is no equivalent provision to restrict the Court from dissolving the marriage if the dissolution of marriage would be unjust to the wife. Moreover, the husband’s ability to obtain fasakh divorce enables him to escape paying any form of compensation to his divorced wife.


5.
Section 107A:  A husband can now get a court order to stop his wife from disposing her property.

Under this new section, a husband can prevent/restrain the wife from disposing her property. Under hukum syara’, the wife has no responsibility to provide maintenance. Therefore, the husband has no rights over his wife’s property, but the wife has rights over her husband’s property in respect of maintenance for herself and their children

Its implications:



The original provision in the IFL Act, 1984.  is to enable the Court to set aside and prevent the disposition of property by a husband or parent whose intention is to reduce his means to pay maintenance to wife or children, or his means to pay mut’ah to his former wife, or to deprive his wife of any rights in relation to the property. In making the amendment, the Bill appears to extend equal rights to both husband and wife, but its implication will be to increase discrimination against women as it actually increases men’s rights without any corresponding development with regards to women’s rights.
This amendment already adopted in Johor has led to the first complaint received by us from a woman whose husband  successfully obtained a court order to freeze her bank accounts in order to claim matrimonial property. This has caused her severe hardship as she could not use any of her savings to maintain herself or the children. Neither did the husband provide any form of maintenance while the negotiations for divorce was going on.



Proposals




Considering that the implications of these amendments are gravely detrimental to the principles of justice and equality in Islam, JAG urges Senators of the Dewan Negara to consider withdrawing this Bill for further review and scrutiny and that the Bill be then resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women’s groups and other interested parties.  Failing this, should the Bill still be adopted, then JAG proposes that the following sections be reviewed and the amendments as we proposed be adopted:

(1)
Section 23(9)(b): This amendment on claims for harta sepencarian upon a husband’s polygamous marriage be limited to entitle only the WIFE to apply for harta sepencarian from the husband;


(2)
Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a): These amendments should revert to the original “just and necessary”.


(3)
Section 23(9): This new section should be amended to recognise the wife’s right to maintenance and harta sepencarian, without requiring her to make a choice for  one or the other;


(4)
Section 52(1): This amended section extending the right to  fasakh divorce to the husband should be removed;


(5)
Section 107A: This new section that enables a husband to prevent his wife from disposing her own property should be removed.

Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG)
Sisters in Islam (SIS)

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)

Women’s Development Collective (WDC)



MTUC-Women’s Section For further information, please contact Sharifah Mas’ad Azzahir at SIS.


Tel: 7960-6121.  Email:sistersinislam@pd.org.my
8 December 2005
Pindaan Kepada Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2005 Yang Boleh Disalahgunakan Oleh Suami (8 December 2005)
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KENYATAAN AKHBAR

Pindaan Kepada Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2005 Yang Boleh Disalahgunakan Oleh Suami
8 December 2005



Sisters In Islam menyambut baik cadangan pindaan yang akan dibentangkan di Parlimen yang membolehkan tuntutan harta sepencarian oleh isteri apabila suaminya ingin berpoligami. Syarat yang memerlukan isteri, atau isteri-isteri sedia ada, bakal isteri dan bakal wali untuk hadir di Mahkamah juga membantu melindungi wanita kerana ia membenarkan hakim untuk menentukan kebolehan seorang lelaki untuk berlaku adil.


SIS telah mencadangkan pindaan ini melalui memorandum yang telah diserahkan kepada Kerajaan pada tahun 1996.

Walaubagaimanapun, terdapat kelonggaran dan kelemahan kepada dua pindaan positif ini yang boleh disalahgunakan dan terus memberi kesan diskriminasi terhadap kaum wanita. Kami amat prihatin mengenai perkara-perkara berikut:
1. Seksyen 23(9)(b): Bahasa ‘gender neutral’ yang digunakan dalam peruntukan tersebut menutup ketidaksetaraan yang terdapat di antara kaum lelaki dan wanita.  Walaupun ia membolehkan isteri menuntut hak ke atas harta sepencarian, ia juga membolehkan suami untuk menuntut hak harta sepencarian dari isteri atau isteri sedia ada. Kelonggaran yang terdapat ini boleh disalah gunakan oleh suami-suami yang tidak bertanggungjawab. Secara amnya, peruntukan ini membolehkan suami membuat paksaan untuk menjual rumah kelamin atau menyatakan bahawa hadiah yang telah diberikan oleh suami kepada isteri adalah sebagai harta sepencarian bagi membolehkannya menyara tanggungan hasil perkahwinannya yang  berikut.

2. Seksyen 23(3) dan 23(4)(a): Syarat yang ada kini iaitu “patut dan perlu” di bawah Seksyen 23 Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam 1984, telah diubah kepada “patut atau perlu”. Ini bermakna suami hanya perlu membuktikan kepada mahkamah bahawa perkahwinan poligami yang dirancang adalah patut, dan tidak perlu membuktikan perkahwinan itu sebagai perlu. Ini memudahkan syarat yang perlu dipenuhi oleh suami sebagai alasan berpoligami.

  1. Seksyen 23(9): Seksyen baru ini memaksa isteri yang mempunyai suami berpoligami untuk memilih, sebagai alternatif, sama ada untuk memohon perintah nafkah atau perintah pembahagian harta sepencarian. Perkara ini adalah tidak adil dan tiada asas dalam perundangan Islam kerana adalah menjadi kewajipan suami untuk menyara isterinya. Hak tambahan yang telah diberikan kepada isteri untuk menuntut harta sepencarian adalah bagi melindungi hak isteri dan anak sedia ada dalam perkahwinan poligami. Oleh itu isteri tidak sepatutnya diminta untuk memilih antara satu dari hak jaminan kewangannya. Isteri berhak ke atas kedua-dua hak tersebut menurut perundangan Islam.


  1. Seksyen  52(1): Fasakh – perintah Mahkamah untuk membubarkan perkahwinan atau untuk fasakh yang memberi wanita 12 alasan bagi perceraian di bawah UUKI 1984, juga diberi kepada suami. Ini memberi kesan diskriminasi kerana suami masih mempunyai hak ke atas cerai tanpa mengira tempat, masa dan alasan, dan juga menerusi Sistem Pesanan Ringkas (SMS). Memberikan suami hak untuk mendapat cerai fasakh membenarkannya melarikan diri dari membayar apa-apa saguhati kepada bekas isteri.


  1. Seksyen 107A: Seksyen baru ini membenarkan suami untuk mendapat injunksi mahkamah bagi menegah isteri memindahkan harta, bagi melindungi suami atau bekas suami yang mempunyai tuntutan ke atas harta wanita. Perkara ini adalah amat tidak adil kerana perundangan tradisi Islam telah menentukan bahawa suami tidak mempunyai hak ke atas  harta isteri dan isteri mempunyai hak ke atas harta suami bagi mendapatkan nafkah isteri dan anak-anak. Pindaan ini yang telah dilaksanakan di Johor telah dituruti dengan kes pertama dimana suami telah mendapat perintah mahkamah bagi membekukan akaun bank isterinya dalam kes tuntutan harta perkahwinan.

Pindaan yang dihasilkan dari kerja tampal dalam meminda Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam dalam menghadapi peredaran persekitaran telah menguntungkan lelaki dari wanita:

§  melalui penggunaan bahasa ‘gender neutral’ yang selektif;

§  dengan memberi hak tradisi yang diperuntukkan kepada wanita di bawah perundangan Islam kepada lelaki, tetapi tidak melanjutkan hak tradisi yang diberi kepada lelaki kepada wanita bagi mencerminkan perubahan dalam peranan dan keadaan semasa lelaki dan wanita;

§  dengan memilih pendapat perundangan minoriti yang mendiskriminasikan wanita sebagai sumber undang-undang (contohnya hak lelaki ke atas cerai fasakh), tetapi tidak memilih  pendapat perundangan minoriti yang memanfaatkan wanita bagi meminda undang-undang (contohnya memberi wanita isma’ atau talaq tafwid (mewakilkan perceraian), dimana suami memberi hak untuk membubarkan perkahwinan kepada isteri sebagaimana beliau boleh membubarkan secara talaq – (pendapat perundangan berdasarkan Surah al-Ahzab, 33:28-29).

Rang Undang-Undang ini secara keseluruhannya merupakan suatu penghakisan hak yang telah diperuntukkan kepada wanita Islam di bawah Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam 1984. Sekiranya niat kerajaan adalah untuk meminda Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam bagi mencerminkan perubahan masa dan persekitaraan, maka kajian semula yang menyeluruh ke atas undang-undang ini adalah perlu dengan berdasarkan rangka-kerja keadilan dan kesaksamaan yang dapat memberi kebaikan kepada lelaki, wanita, anak-anak dan kestabilan institusi keluarga di dalam masyarakat Islam. Ia haruslah juga dilakukan dengan rundingan bersama persatuan wanita dan perjumpaan rakyat Malaysia. Bagi masa ini, sekiranya Rang Undang-Undang ini akan diluluskan Sisters In Islam mencadangkan kajian semula dan pindaan kepada seksyen berikut:
(1)  Seksyen 23(9)(b): Pindaan ke atas harta sepencarian bagi harta suami yang berpoligami, kebenaran menuntut harta haruslah dihadkan hanya kepada ISTERI;

(2)  Seksyen 23(3) dan 23(4)(a): Pindaan kembali kepada seksyen asal, iaitu “patut dan perlu”;

(3)  Seksyen 23(9): Seksyen baru ini harus dipinda bagi mengiktiraf hak isteri ke atas nafkah dan harta sepencarian, tanpa memerlukan isteri membuat pilihan antara satu;

(4)  Seksyen 52(1): Hak baru suami ke atas cerai fasakh harus dimansuhkan;

(5)  Seksyen 107A yang baru yang membenarkan suami melarang isteri melupuskan hartanya sendiri harus dimansuhkan.
Keseragaman perundangan Keluarga Islam di Malaysia demi menjamin keadilan memanglah sesuatu yang patut diusahakan. Tetapi amatlah penting untuk memastikan supaya undang-undang yang diseragamkan itu merupakan pentafsiran yang adil dan saksama untuk kedua-dua pihak suami dan isteri, disamping mengutamakan kebajikan anak-anak. Keadilan, bukannya kezaliman, merupakan prinsip asas syariah Islam.
Sisters in Islam

8 Disember 2005
Memorandum to Ahli Dewan Negara to Review the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment)
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Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG)
8 December 2005

This memorandum by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG) is handed over to members of Dewan Negara to request a withdrawal and review of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005, passed by the Dewan Rakyat on 26 September 2005. Whilst several amendments in this Bill aim to safeguard the interests of justice for Muslim women in this country, nevertheless we are concerned that these and other amendments in the Bill will result in further injustice and discrimination against women.

Furthermore, the Dewan Rakyat was not given ample time to study and scrutinize the Bill. Consequently, Members of Parliament did not have sufficient opportunity to discuss with relevant parties and to cogently debate on those provisions which will have discriminatory effects upon Muslim women in Malaysia.

Therefore we hope that the Senators will re-examine these disturbing amendments and propose that the Bill be withdrawn for review and resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women's groups and other interested parties.

Background
On 26th September, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005. Its aim is to improve the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 and to ensure that justice will be upheld.

We welcome some of the proposed amendments, particularly in respect of claims to harta sepencarian for the existing wife upon her husband's contracting a polygamous marriage, and the requirement for the existing wife, or wives, prospective wife and her guardian to be present in Court. These positive amendments should ensure protection for the rights of Muslim women after having to endure the hardships inflicted on them by discriminatory laws which are insensitive to the plight faced by Muslim women and the realities in their lives.

However, these amendments and others have discriminatory effects against Muslim women in Malaysia. Amongst the discriminatory amendments that need to be reviewed are:
1. Section 23(9): The right of the husband to claim a share of his existing wife's property upon his polygamous marriage.
This amendment states "…Every Court that grants the permission or orders a marriage to be registered under this section shall have the power on the application by any party to the marriage… to order the division between the parties of the marriage of any assets acquired by them during the marriage by their joint efforts or the sale of such assets and the division of the proceeds of the sale." As a result of this selective gender neutral language ("any party"), the husband will also be able to claim harta sepencarian from his existing wife or wives. We are concerned that this provision may be abused by irresponsible husbands.

Its implications:
A husband who is going to marry a new wife will also be entitled to claim part of his existing wife's assets as harta sepencarian or to apply that their matrimonial home be sold and the proceeds divided in order to support his new lifestyle, or for whatever reason. Property that had already been given by the husband to his wife may also be claimed back as harta sepencarian. This would be grossly unjust to the existing wife and children. It should be remembered that except in cases involving khul' divorce, Surah al-Baqarah 2: 229 prohibits husbands from reclaiming whatsoever that they had given to their wives: "it is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives)".

2. Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a): Making Polygamy Easier for Men
This amendment makes it easier for men to practise polygamy. The principal provision of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 (IFL Act, 1984), in section 23, provided that the proposed marriage must be "just and necessary", but this has been amended to "just or necessary".

Its implications:
The husband will only need to show to the Court that the proposed marriage is "necessary", and need not bother as to whether it is "just" or not for him to practise polygamy. This amendment appears to be a deliberate attempt to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee in the case of Aishah vs Wan Mohd Yusof (1990) 7 JH 152, which held that emphasis must be placed on all the conditions under this subsection, and that each condition must be proven separately.

The reason given by the husband for wanting to contract a polygamous marriage was that of legitimising his love for the other woman. The Selangor Syariah Appeal Committee, however, observed that while this may be sufficient ground to show why the proposed marriage was "necessary", it has no relevance to the question of whether the proposed marriage was "just". As a Muslim, he should be in control of his desires and be able to restrain himself from committing adultery and immoral activities. Thus, the court said while the defendant fulfilled the condition for "necessary", he failed to fulfil the condition for "just". His application to practise polygamy was rejected.

3. Section 23(9)(a): Forcing a wife to choose maintenance OR division of harta sepencarian upon a husband's polygamous marriage.
This new section which is intended to protect the existing wife in a polygamous marriage can cause injustice as it forces a wife to choose between alternatives, either to apply for order of mainternance OR to apply for order of division on harta sepencarian. This is unjust and has no basis in Islamic law as it is a mandatory obligation upon the husband to maintain his wife. The additional right for the wife to claim a division on harta sepencarian is to protect the interest of the existing wife and children and to ensure that justice is done in a polygamous marriage. Therefore the wife should not be asked to choose one or the other form of financial security. She is entitled to both under Islamic law.

4. Section 52(1): Extending the wife's right to fasakh divorce to the husband.
The right to fasakh, which is traditionally a woman's right under Islamic law is now extended to the husband, even though he still possesses the absolute right to pronounce talaq to divorce his wife. We find it very strange that when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama' over a certain rule, there is a tendency to adopt that which is more advantageous for the husband, and even to further extend his advantage. On the other hand, when there is a conflict of juristic views among the ulama' over another rule which may be advantageous for the wife, the view that is beneficial to the wife is set aside and rejected (for e.g. the rule that extends the right of isma' or talaq tafwid (delegated divorce) - where the husband delegates to his wife a general right to dissolve the marriage in the same manner as he may dissolve it through talaq - juristic opinion based on Surah al-Ahzab, 33:28-29).

Its iImplications:
The husband's rights to divorce have been further increased but the wife's rights remain unchanged. The husband can easily, at his whim and fancy, pronounce talaq even when the wife is not willing to be divorced, and now he is to be given a general right to claim fasakh as well. There is no equivalent provision to restrict the Court from dissolving the marriage if the dissolution of marriage would be unjust to the wife. Moreover, the husband's ability to obtain fasakh divorce enables him to escape paying any form of compensation to his divorced wife.

5. Section 107A: A husband can now get a court order to stop his wife from disposing her property.
Under this new section, a husband can prevent/restrain the wife from disposing her property. Under hukum syara', the wife has no responsibility to provide maintenance. Therefore, the husband has no rights over his wife's property, but the wife has rights over her husband's property in respect of maintenance for herself and their children.

Its implications:
The original provision in the IFL Act, 1984. is to enable the Court to set aside and prevent the disposition of property by a husband or parent whose intention is to reduce his means to pay maintenance to wife or children, or his means to pay mut'ah to his former wife, or to deprive his wife of any rights in relation to the property. In making the amendment, the Bill appears to extend equal rights to both husband and wife, but its implication will be to increase discrimination against women as it actually increases men's rights without any corresponding development with regards to women's rights.

This amendment already adopted in Johor has led to the first complaint received by us from a woman whose husband successfully obtained a court order to freeze her bank accounts in order to claim matrimonial property. This has caused her severe hardship as she could not use any of her savings to maintain herself or the children. Neither did the husband provide any form of maintenance while the negotiations for divorce wereas going on.

Proposals
Considering that the implications of these amendments are gravely detrimental to the principles of justice and equality in Islam, JAGGE urges Senators of the Dewan Negara to consider withdrawing this Bill for further review and scrutiny and that the Bill be then resubmitted to the Dewan Rakyat, having taken into consideration the submissions made by women's groups and other interested parties. Failing this, should the Bill still be adopted, then JAGGE proposes that the following sections be reviewed and the amendments as we proposed be adopted:

(1) Section 23(9)(b): This amendment on claims for harta sepencarian upon a husband's polygamous marriage be limited to entitle only the WIFE to apply for harta sepencarian from the husband;
(2) Section 23(3) and 23(4)(a): These amendments should revert to the original "just and necessary".
(3) Section 23(9): This new section should be amended to recognise the wife's right to maintenance and harta sepencarian, without requiring her to make a choice for one or the other;
(4) Section 52(1): This amended section extending the right to fasakh divorce to the husband should be removed;
(5) Section 107A: This new section that enables a husband to prevent his wife from disposing her own property should be removed.

Submitted by the Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG);
Sisters in Islam (SIS)
All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
Women's Centre for Change (WCC)
Women's Development Collective (WDC)
MTUC-Women's Section

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