'Make pre-marriage course compulsory for Malaysian Hindus'
Kuala Lumpur, Sep 5: A Hindu group in Malaysia wants a compulsory pre-marriage course for the community to reinforce family values and fight problems like divorce and single motherhood.
The Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) has written to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak requesting the government to make the course a must for Hindus prior to their marriage registration and traditional wedding.
MHS deputy president Bala Tharumaningam said the course would help reduce marriage-related problems in the community.
"Dysfunctional families, divorced and single mothers in the Hindu community are on the rise. We believe it is the result of poor family values and understanding of the marriage institution.
"The family as the basic social unit must be strong for the community to function in a better manner. A stable family system is the strength of any community," New Straits Times quoted him as saying Sunday.
He pointed out that a pre-marriage course is compulsory for Muslim couples. For Christian couples, it is made compulsory by the churches in Malaysia.
"We hope the government will give importance to our request."
Multi-racial Malaysia is home to 1.7 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Hindus.
The MHS had prepared a module for a pre-marriage course in 2002 in collaboration with Yayasan Strategik Sosial, a social development centre for the Indian community.
Tharumaningam said the course received lukewarm response from couples intending to tie the knot.
The course is now only available on request.
The MHS is a non-governmental organisation set up to look after the needs of Hindus in Malaysia.