Thai religious authorities introduce safety features to prevent Malaysian couples being cheated by marriage syndicate

RANTAU PANJANG: Thai religious authorities have introduced new safety features on the marriage certificates issued to Malaysian couples who tie the knot in the southern provinces of the country.

Narathiwat Islamic Religious Council committee member Abdul Rahman Yusof said the move was to ensure Malaysian couples would not be cheated by marriage syndicates who operate along the border of the two countries.

He said the new features are on every marriage certificate issued by the council or any of its selected imams in southern provinces must be approved by the council's president or secretary.

He said this started early this year and it was aimed at preventing cheating on marriage certificates by members of the syndicates.

"Malaysian men who are planning to tie the knot in southern Thailand need not worry anymore of being cheated by border marriage syndicates as the religious authority in Thailand has introduced the new security features for the certificate.

"Apart from issuing two copies of the certificates to the couples, we will also ensure there will be an official stamp and signatures of the two council's top officers on the certificates.

"By doing this, we hope Malaysian couples will not be cheated again... their marriage is 'safe' and there will be no problem later," he told the New Straits Times.

Rahman said the religious authorities in Kelantan have been informed about the new ruling.

Sungai Golok marriage manager Wan Yusoff Wan Hassan said Malaysian couples are allowed to get married in three places in the southern provinces.

He added that the places which were gazetted by the Islamic Religious Council are Ruso and Sungai Golok sub-provinces as well as the council's office in Narathiwat.

"In Sungai Golok alone, more than 10 couples get married every day and they are from a few states in Malaysia. The solemnisation ceremony (akad nikah) only takes about 20 minutes if the couples provide all the documents needed by the council," he said.

Meanwhile, asked whether men with "Datuk" titles still make up more than half of Malaysians who get married in Narathiwat, Rahman said the trend has changed.

"Men with the title 'Datuk' no longer come to southern Thailand... perhaps if they do come, they choose to hide their title as they do not want to be recognised by us.

"The latest trend we see is that many government servants from Malaysia are interested in getting married in Thailand and the number is increasing each day," he added.

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