Father and son

HOW about the CHILDREN who cannot see their FATHERS from the 78k divorce cases in Malaysia since the pandemic?

Dear PM,

HOW about the CHILDREN who cannot see their FATHERS from the 78k ++ divorce cases in Malaysia since the pandemic?

The newly formed Father’s Rights Association of Malaysia (FRAM) would like to respond to the recent statement by the Prime Minister regarding the divorce cases in Malaysia since the Covid-19 pandemic recorded to more than 78k nationwide.

“We are announcing our establishment to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and hope to see him soon to focus on the fact of depression behind the mere statistics of a divorce,” the Co-Founder and President of FRAM, Malcolm Fernandez, said.

“FRAM empathise with the parents and their children that are going through this challenging journey. We are here to provide guidance and advice to those going through a painful divorce journey.

“It is healthy to voice out your emotions, especially men who do not show their sadness to others, but most time they are going through a bad depression. So many fathers that call us feel better as we are in the same boat”, Malcolm added.

The number of divorces increased 12.0 per cent from 50,862 (2018) to 56,975 (2019). Thus, the Crude Divorce Rate (CDR) increased from 1.6 (2018) to 1.8 (2019) per thousand population. The number of Muslim divorces recorded in 2019 was 45,502, rising 13.0 per cent compared to 40,269 (2018). As a result, CDR increased from 2.0 (2018) to 2.3 (2019) per thousand Muslim population. Similarly, Non-Muslim divorces increased 8.3 per cent from 10,593 (2018) to 11,473 (2019). Therefore, CDR for Non-Muslim increased from 0.8 (2018) to 0.9 (2019) per thousand Non-Muslim population.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, recently stated that almost 78,000 divorces had been recorded nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year. In addition, he said that 10,346 divorces involved non-Muslim couples, while 66,440 cases involved Muslims between March last year and August this year.

Imagine the number of children not able to see their fathers freely.

Fathers in Malaysia sadly discover that in Family Court, the probability of securing joint custody of their children is extremely low and, for the most part, remains futile litigation. As a result, sole or primary custody of a couple’s children almost always is invariably granted to mothers.

In Malaysia, mothers are automatically granted sole child custody, especially for children below seven years old, under the Law Reform (Divorce & Marriage) Act 1976 and according to section 81 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories). Thus, a father’s contribution to his children’s lives to be primarily financial in the eyes of the law.

The government need to revisit and change the Family Laws in Malaysia. In most cases, the rights and custody will go to the mother. It is painful to learn that fathers have limited visitation rights, from 15 minutes a week for a video call to 3-4 hours per month to be with their children. In worse scenarios, their former wife makes false allegations for domestic violence, molestation, and so many more things. Hence, the fathers got such judgment even at times; there is no proof to show the same.

Some fathers are more fortunate than the rest and granted an overnight stay on alternate weekends. That makes a father able to spend time with their kids two times a month or 24 nights in a year.

The question is, is it fair? Is it sufficient for a child-father bonding? Is this what we meant by family law justice? Is it a judgment or a punishment? What is certain, the fathers are aspected to provide financial support for the child.

Loving fathers have the right to be part of the day-to-day life of their children. No law or anyone should stop that.

A child did not choose to be born in this world. A child did not decide to witness their parents fighting. A child did not choose to have their parents divorced. So why is a child forced to choose which parents that they want to stay with? In some cases, the court will decide for the child, especially when the child is below seven years old.

FRAM is not just an association for loving fathers. FRAM is for everyone who believes in family bonding. To have more mature children to share the ‘what if’ with their divorced parents will bring more meaning to the existence of FRAM. Always remember, a couple can choose to be separated or divorced, but once they are a parent, they will remain as one forever. “, said Co-Founder and Hon. Secretary of FRAM, Sheikh Faleigh SM.

“Studies have confirmed, a child who grew up without a father figure or in a father-absent home will grow up to be a problematic and unhappy person”, he added.

There are some countries that practice auto shared custody and parenting after a divorce. Suppose any one of the parents is not being, just to the system. They can be punished by law. Unless, of course, either parent can prove to the court that the other is not fit to be a parent. The court then will look at the situation carefully and provide the necessary action. Counseling sessions for both parents and the children is compulsory to maintain calmness and a happy family bonding.

As much as mothers have rights towards their children, a father has the same rights naturally. Most importantly, the child has the most rights to be with both parents. If there is a case when a child does not like or do not want to be with the other parent, the parent that the child prefers should encourage or advise the child to respect the other.

It is a deniable fact that there are parents who are both not fit to raise a child. But of course, if there is proof of domestic violence or molestation, then, of course, it’s a different case altogether. But there are more loving fathers around the world. So it’s just not fair to generalise them together with those fathers who are not fit to be a parent. So do not generalise fathers as if fathers are guilty until proven innocent. It is just simply wrong to accuse a father that they are not a loving father.

“We, the Father’s Rights Association of Malaysia, representing loving fathers and mothers advocating for shared parenting and custody. We believe that family bonding is important, and children should have the freedom to be with their fathers”, Malcolm ended.

About FRAM:
Fathers’ Rights Association of Malaysia (FRAM) consists of an ever-growing group of men and women committed to advocating for loving fathers to enjoy their full rights to be with their kids. Plus, assisting children in having the freedom to see their fathers. FRAM advocates for 50/50 equal shared custody and parenting. This includes by terms of law equality of time, control and guardianship of the child.

This article is in respond to : https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/09/15/almost-78000-couples-divorced-since-start-of-pandemic-last-year

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