On Jan 19, 2006 a Muslim man who is also a member of the Dewan Negara or Upper House of the Malaysian Parliament, was fined RM550 (+-US$148) by the Sharia Court for divorcing his wife via the sms and voicemail msg.
Senator Datuk Kamaruddin Ambok, who hails from Terengganu state, was also given a stern lecture by the judge on the sanctity of marriage. The senator who is also leader of the Segambut Umno division, a Malay-based political party of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition government, pleaded guilty.
He violated the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, which among others stated that a declaration of divorce must be uttered in court.
I strongly believed that Kamaruddin failed to realise that marriage must be approached with utmost seriousness, entered with the purest intent, and cultivated religiously as it does not come cheaply and it carries immense reward. Among the greatest of responsibilities that had been placed upon men is that pertaining to the treatment of their wives. You dont simply divorce your wife by sms, it is a cowardly act.
By the way, a senator in Malaysia is not elected by the people but appointed either by the head of state, state rulers and governors, on the recommendation of the ruling party. Most of them are politicians, either rejected by the people in the general elections or not selected to contest in the elections, or as a reward for their loyalty to party leaders. A handful of senators are appointed to represent minority community, professional bodies, trade union or non-governmental organization.
I believe that if senators are elected by the people, a majority of them who are now in the Upper House, would not be there, Senator Kamaruddin Ambok included.