Good polyg­a­mous men may get re­ward

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD -

A MALAYSIAN state gov­erned by an Is­lamic party plans to re­ward “good” Mus­lim men who de­clare their polyg­a­mous mar­riages and are able to take proper care of their mul­ti­ple house­holds, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Mus­lim men in Malaysia can have up to four wives at one time but must ful­fill var­i­ous re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing ob­tain­ing con­sent from ex­ist­ing spouses and from the state re­li­gious depart­ment. Many hus­bands travel to other states or neigh­bor­ing Thai­land to hold se­cret wed­dings and then re­turn home with their ad­di­tional wives, caus­ing con­flicts, of­fi­cials said.

Wan Ubaidah Omar, who heads the Women, Health and Fam­ily De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee in north­east Ke­lan­tan state, said 1,600 polyg­a­mous mar­riages were reg­is­tered in the state last year.

“We be­lieve there are many more who didn’t de­clare and this will only cre­ate prob­lems for the fam­i­lies later on,” she said.

“We are con­sid­er­ing giv­ing re­wards to men who prac­tice polygamy but do not hide their new wives, who treat all their fam­i­lies fairly and pro­vide for them all. This is not to en­cour­age polygamy but to rec­og­nize the good men in so­ci­ety who can be­come role mod­els for others,” she said.

Wan Ubaidah said polyg­a­mous men should choose to marry wid­ows and di­vorcees be­cause there are 25,000 of them un­der the age of 60 in the state. The in­cen­tives may be in­tro­duced next year and could be in the form of an annual award for the best polyg­a­mous hus­band, fi­nan­cial aid, or gifts to bol­ster mar­i­tal har­mony, she added.

Though al­lowed by Is­lam, polygamy is con­tentious for some Mus­lims, who ac­count for nearly two-thirds of the coun­try’s 28 mil­lion peo­ple.

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