Move to freeze assets of ex-husbands who don’t pay alimony

KUALA LUMPUR: Ex-husbands who defy the Syariah Court’s order to pay nafkah (alimony) to their former wives may have their assets frozen and money forced out of their bank accounts.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pix) said his ministry is currently in negotiations with the Finance Ministry and the Women, Family and Development Ministry to ensure that decisions by the Syariah Court are legally-binding.

He noted that presently, the relevant laws, including the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958 and the Employees Provident Fund Act 1991, were not bound by the decisions made by he court for nafkah payment.

“The Syariah Court has agreed for a provision where if ex-husbands fail to fulfil the court’s decision, action can be taken against them, including freezing their assets or taking money out of their bank or EPF accounts to make nafkah payments.

“However, we need to discuss further because the Syariah Court’s decisions are not legally binding with regard to the relevant acts currently. So we are now looking at ways how to make the decisions legally-binding,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Ahmad Amzad Hashim (PAS-Kuala Terengganu) on measures taken by the ministry to strengthen the Syariah Court, following numerous complains from ex-wives of not being given nafkah after divorce.

Mujahid said he took note of the concerns raised by the group, which was why a special marriages, hadhanah (child custody) and nafkah (maintenance) court was set up recently by the State Syariah Judiciary Department (JKSN).

The court will have the authority to confiscate the property of a man who has failed to provide for his ex-wife, it was initially agreed.

Mujahid had earlier this year said that the setting up of the court was a reflection of the commitment of the Pakatan Harapan government to protect the rights of women.