PUTRAJAYA – The Cabinet has agreed to the proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) to be speeded up, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib when launching the National Women’s Day 2016 celebrations here today, announced that the proposed amendments were scheduled to be tabled by the Home Ministry at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting.
He said Act 164 would be amended based on three core principles.
The first, he said, was that any issues relating to divorce for civil marriages must be settled in the civil courts first.
“This is to ensure that things like custodial rights and child maintenance until higher education is protected and assured,” he said.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the second principle was universal justice, whereby the amendments to the act will give both parties the chance to resolve civil marriage issues at the Civil Court.
“It will enable them to get on with their lives, such as getting re-married, in the case of non-Muslim couples,” he said.
As for the third principle, Najib said conflicts between the Civil and Syariah courts resulting from one party’s conversion to Islam could be resolved, and that the legal loopholes and overlap in existing laws could be overcome.
Following several criminal cases involving children, Najib also announced the setting-up of a task force to study the issue of sex crimes, especially rape, of children.
He said the task force would be led by a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and would comprised members from the relevant parties.
“I am very upset that of late, there has been an increase in social issues involving the abuse and assault of children.
“For instance, recently, there was a case involving a foreign national who was given a heavy jail sentence for sexual assault of children, including those from Malaysia,” Najib said.
Also present were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
The celebration this year is themed “United Effort: No Woman Left Out,” – BERNAMA