Telenisa: Muslim wives not providing enough money is a major concern for 50pc, 2022 findings show | Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — As the Covid-19 pandemic draws to a close, Muslim women in Malaysia remain highly concerned about financial issues, especially about their husbands not providing enough money to cover family expenses, according to a 2022 report.

In the 2022 findings of the non-governmental organization Sisters in Islam (SIS), 431 people used last year its free legal aid service Telenisa for Islamic family law issues (387 or 90 percent were women, 44 men).



“Questions about maintenance claims have increased even after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 66 percent of Telenisa clients asking for guidance on procedures to make a maintenance claim,” SIS said in their Telenisa Statistics and Findings 2022 report released yesterday.

Of this 66 percent, 47 percent are those who have never made or filed any claim for maintenance in the Shariah court, while 13 percent are wives who inquire about maintenance arrears because their husbands do not provide such funds despite the court’s order to pay maintenance, and 6 percent inquire about “iddah maintenance” which is a type of maintenance caused by ex-Muslim spouses during separation.

But specifically in cases involving maintenance of wives recorded by SIS through its Telenisa service, the proportion of cases involving Muslim husbands not providing sufficient maintenance decreased from 76 percent in 2021 to 50 percent in 2022.

“Up to 50 percent of our clients stated that their husbands do not provide enough maintenance, but expect wives to manage the household no matter how little they are given,” SIS said in its 2022 report.

SIS manager of advocacy, legal services and research Fadhlul Adnin Abd Karim yesterday shared anecdotes on the kind of value Muslim men place on the financial support of their families.

“Most of our clients complain that their husbands only give RM100, RM200 a month. Imagine, is that enough in Kuala Lumpur, RM100, RM200 a month? Doesn’t it make sense?” he said at the launch of the 2022 report and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Telenisa here.

In the 2022 report, SIS also found that maintenance cases involving unemployed spouses increased from 10 percent in 2021 to 28 percent in 2022, which it attributed to an increase in cases of spouses not providing all maintenance (from 1 percent in 2021 to 3 percent in 2022).

For cases involving husbands who remain unemployed, the family will struggle to pay for basic needs such as food, utilities and house rent, causing wives – if they are not working – to have to dip into their own savings to meet daily household expenses. Also for situations where the husband has not provided any maintenance, the wife has to bear the household expenses alone.

There were also 11 percent of women in 2021 and 2022 whose husbands did not comply with court orders to pay maintenance and child support.

In maintenance cases, 2 percent in 2021 and 8 percent in 2022 are other issues, such as when the husband only gives money for expenses once every three months, which the SIS says is because such husbands know that their wives can apply for divorce if they do not pay maintenance for more than three consecutive months.

“There are also situations where a client has complained that his wife will only pay utility bills after receiving the final notice,” SIS said, adding that maintenance under Islam goes beyond basic needs and also covers the provision of education, medicine and personal care products such as cosmetics and hygiene products.

Separately, SIS also found that 311 children were affected in 2022 due to unresolved parental issues, with 52 percent of their issues revolving around child maintenance (42 percent on maintenance and 10 percent related to arrears of maintenance).

The leading child maintenance issue in 2022 among Telenisa clients is fathers who do not provide enough financial support at 49 percent, followed by unemployed fathers (29 percent), fathers who violate court orders to pay money to support the child’s financial needs (14 percent), while two percent include fathers who do not provide any maintenance.

SIS said the issue of unresolved maintenance will directly affect the economy and daily life of the family.

“Thus, Telenisa emphasizes the urgent need for the government to initiate a long-term study to understand the consequences of inadequate maintenance on families and what policies are necessary to implement and implement to lift them out of the cycle of poverty,” SIS said.

SIS also proposed the introduction of policy initiatives at the grassroots and community levels to address social issues and economic hardship.

According to SIS, its free legal aid service Telenisa can be reached at 012-812 3424 from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm via phone calls, video calls and WhatsApp, with face-to-face consultations available by making an appointment.

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