Malaysia disallows divorces via SMS

The Malaysian Islamic religious authorities will not allow Muslims to divorce using SMS, although this mode of seeking a divorce has been reported to have been accepted in the UAE and Singapore.

KUALA LUMPUR--The Islamic religious authorities here will not allow Malaysian Muslims to divorce using short message service (SMS) although this mode of seeking a divorce has been reported to have been accepted in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

The religious adviser to the Prime Minister described requesting a divorce via a mobile phone message as an "irresponsible and dangerous act".

Hamid Othman said appealed to spouses who receive such divorce messages to report it to the religious department.

"We have adequate laws to curb rash moves by Muslim men to divorce their wives without justification," he was quoted in The Star on Thursday.

The minister in charge of women's affairs, Shahrizat Jalil, also slammed the idea that one could get a divorce simply by sending a message via a mobile phone.

"Marriage is a sacred institution and as such when a marriage breaks down, we should not take it lightly and allow the man to SMS a divorce declaration to his wife," she was reported as saying.

Shahrizat also urged the religious authorities not to recognize declarations of divorce made over the telephone.

The uproar was started here when the Federal Territory Islamic religious head Hisham Yahya was quoted recently in a local Malay daily as saying that an SMS declaration of divorce was acceptable.

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