14th General Election (GE14)
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) is in the midst of collecting data on marriages and divorces among Muslims in the country, and will release the new statistics by the end of next year. (Pix by SAMADI AHMAD)

PUTRAJAYA: The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) is in the midst of collecting data on marriages and divorces among Muslims in the country, and will release the new statistics by the end of next year.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the data is crucial for obtaining an overview of the current state of Muslim family institutions in Malaysia, and how long marriages last.

"The stats will serve as a guideline for policy makers in understanding family-related issues in the country. And (whether Muslim marriages in Malaysia are) built to last," he told reporters after releasing the latest statistical data on women’s empowerment at the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry today.

Also present was the ministry's secretary general, Datuk Suriani Datuk Ahmad.

Pointing out that there is a lack of comprehensive data on Muslim marriages and divorces in the country, Mohd Uzir said what little statistics are available are "here and there", because Islamic affairs fall under state governments, who are not coordinated on the matter.

In addition, the current data collection process for Muslim couples is highly challenging because most of the records are kept manually.

"We are working closely with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and all state religious councils in collecting the data," Mohd Zukir said, adding that unlike for Muslims, data on non-Muslim Malaysian couples is easily obtainable because it is handled by the National Registration Department (NRD).

On the issue of women’s empowerment, he said that greater participation of women in all fields, including Malaysian politics, is needed because the latest stats show that only 10.8 per cent of Members of Parliament (MPs) are women.

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