BRUNEI – Divorce rates in the country continue to rise among Muslim couples who have been married for 10 to 14 years.
The Brunei Darussalam Statistical Yearbook (BDSYB) for 2011, which was released last week, revealed that marriages lasting 10 to 14 years have consistently topped the divorce rates over the past five years.
These couples account for 20.6 per cent or 95 cases out of the 459 divorces registered in 2011. However, overall divorce rates have dropped 4.9 per cent last year compared to 2010.
Citing figures from the State Judiciary Department at the Prime Minister’s Office, the report indicated that Muslim couples who have been married for more than a decade are up to five times more likely to end in divorce.
Meanwhile, 65 per cent of divorces occur in couples aged from 25 to 39. High divorce rates are also found among couples aged from 25 to 29 and 40 to 44.
Out of the 4,844 newlyweds among the Muslim community in Brunei last year, 3,105 were from 20 to 29 years of age. People who wed in their thirties account for 1,120 marriages, while 246 teenagers aged 15 to 29 decided to tie the knot.
According to the Minister of Religious Affairs, the common causes of divorce were irreconcilable differences, followed by neglecting responsibilities and providing nafkah (sustenance).
Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Muhammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman said a random survey conducted by the ministry on 583 complaints received found that irreconcilable differences was the top reason for divorce with 193 complaints or 33.15 per cent.
Another leading cause cited was neglecting one’s responsibilities and nafkah at 184 complaints or 31.73 per cent, he disclosed during the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting this year.
He highlighted other reasons for divorce in the country which included infidelity, violence, absent spouse or foreign spouse not returning from the country of origin, polygamy, drug abuse and spouse in detention or prison.
In a move to tackle divorce rates, YB Pg Dato Dr Hj Muhammad said the ministry regularly conducts talks on family institutions for civil servants and new converts.
Other initiatives include pre-marriage courses for future brides and grooms that are held twice a week. Since July, the content of the courses have been extended to cover topics on health and household financial management.