Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said, on a yearly basis, financial issues come up tops as the reason marriages end in divorce. (NSTP/AZHAR RAMLI)

KUALA LUMPUR: Nearly half of the marriages which end in divorce in Malaysia break down due to financial problems.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said, on a yearly basis, financial issues come up tops as the reason marriages end in divorce.

This, she said, was gleaned from the Marriage Tribunal in the National Registration Department.

“For 2018, out of 6,901 cases which were referred to the tribunal, 2,971 cases were related to financial problems in the family. This is a problem,” she said after launching the Women of Will’s (WOW) Community Kitchen at the Batu Muda People’s Housing Project (PPR) flats.

Yeoh said, when a marriage breaks down due to financial issues, whichever party gains custody of the children would be prone to be stressed.

This, she said, could lead to the abuse of the children.

“Never underestimate the impact of financial challenges that a marriage faces. “When a couple faces financial issues and are unable to solve it, this leads to a divorce.

“After the divorce, most mothers are left without any income and with the responsibility of caring for the children with financial constraints, they tend to face stress and this eventually leads to abuse of the children.”

Yeoh said the trend was similar even if the husband gets custody of the children.

“We have received cases of child abuse where the abusers are the mothers themselves who are unable to handle stress due to financial difficulties.

“These are all connected and it starts with a financial burden in the household.”

Projects such as the community kitchen by WOW, she said, would not only have the ability to help women, but also help in solving cases of child abuse.

“Projects like this are very meaningful to rebuilding a community and also to focusing on strengthening the family unit.

“I need you to see the connection, that when you help women to sustain themselves, you are actually preventing children from being abused.”

She thanked WOW and Yayasan Hasanah, which provided the grant for the project to build a community kitchen at the PPR to allow selected women to bake and sell cookies as a source of income.

Yearly, said Yeoh, the ministry had an allocation of RM22 million to help non-governmental organisations (NGO) that reached out to the targeted groups — children, disabled, homeless and senior citizens.

“As of April we have spent almost RM12 million to help 1,632 NGOs nationwide.

“The total amount is actually not adequate for such a large group of people, so I’m very thankful for the grant given by Yayasan Hasanah and also the initiative by WOW in helping these women,” she said.

On another matter, Yeoh said only 190 applications had been made by individuals or childcare organisations to check on prospective employees for criminal records of sexual offences against children.

The Sexual Crime Registry System (eDKK) which is managed by the Welfare Department was launched on April 1 and contains the names of about 3,000 people convicted for sexual offences against children.

“Currently, only 190 applications have been made, but we are encouraging more,” she said

In April, Yeoh urged all parents, schools, employers and those involved in handling children to check the details of the individuals they were employing, including babysitters, to make sure they did not have such records.

Yeoh said the registry, which was updated regularly, comprised the names of those convicted under Section Section 118 of the Child Act 2001 from 2017 to last month.

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