Alarming collapse of family unit

IPOH: The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, yesterday expressed concern over the alarming divorce rate among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and the rising number of crimes involving youngsters over the last few years.He said that the increase in these two areas was due to the breakdown in the family institution and the collapse in the practice of correct moral values.

Calling on Malaysians to pay greater attention to what was happening around them, he said emphasis must be on disseminating correct moral values and strengthening the family institution to tackle rising divorce and crime rates.
“The rising trends showed the collapse of moral values and the fragility of the family institution.

“These are due to urbanisation, negative culture, an uncurbed entertainment industry, poverty and also the feeling of being sidelined from the rapid development around them.

“These are among the factors that have become the causes of the limping and faltering society of today,” he said at the opening of the 173rd conference of the Perak Malay Customs and Islamic Religious Council (MAIAMP) here, yesterday.
Raja Dr Nazrin said statistics provided by police showed juvenile crimes had increased by 20 per cent from 5,114 in 2007 to 6,048 in 2009.

In the same period, violent crimes such as rape, outraging of modesty and armed robbery increased from 1,662 to 2,394 cases.

“Most shocking is that children between the ages of 7 and 10 were also involved in stealing, robbing and rape.
“The rate of divorce is also higher than the percentage of marriages.

“While marriages recorded an increase of 21 per cent, from 153,318 in 2002 to 199,586 in 2009, the rate of divorces rose by 105 per cent from 16,016 to 32,763 during the same period.

“The rate of divorce is rising alarmingly. In 2002, the ratio of divorces to marriages was 1:9.6, which increased to 1:6.1 last year.

“In 2002, the National Registration Department registered 2,706 divorces among non-Muslim spouses. This increased to 5,647 last year.”

Raja Dr Nazrin said the statistics provided by the Department of Islamic Development saw divorces rising by 102 per cent between 2002 and last year, from 13,397 to 27,116.

“This means that last year, 82 per cent of the total divorces took place among Muslim spouses.”

Raja Dr Nazrin stressed the younger generation needed help to develop their potential.

The line of communication between generations should be simplified and expanded so that any communication gap could be narrowed, he pointed out.

“I call on the various discussion workshops to spark new ideas, to propose innovative programmes to strengthen the family institution, to instil good moral values and close the communication gap between the generations.

“It is my intention and hope to see the participation of young people in the discussion workshops.

“The younger generation should be given the space to enable them to create new ideas in an open and frank manner.”

by Jaspal Singh.

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