Kota Kinabalu: About 300 Indonesian couples will validate their marriages over the next few days at the Indonesian Consulate General office here.
"This year we have couples coming from the West Cost, interior division, Sandakan, Kudat, Tawau as well as Sarawak É when they work here, some of them decide to get married here," said its Consul-General Sahid Soepeno.
Their marriages, he said, are valid in religion but according to Indonesian law, their marriages can only be validated once recorded in the Office of Religious Affairs even though some of them have been married for years and already had children and grandchildren.
He said the programme was, therefore, not only to validate their marriages but also to present them with marriage documents, adding that nearly 90 per cent of the marriages were not recorded by the Indonesian Religious Affairs Office.
The marriage validation, he said, would also ensure the rights of women and children born from the marriage have legal rights to income, inheritance and birth certificate as well as to prevent polygamy.
"We have invited a marriage panel led by Tata Sutayuga who are here to validate the marriages and issue marriage books which is evidence that these couples are legally married," he said. Each couple must pay RM40 for the marriage validation.
"Our principles are simple, it is affordable, easy, fast and transparent.
Thus we encourage every Indonesian couple to get their marriage validated," he said.
The mass marriage validation was the second such programme conducted here with the first in June last year which saw a total of 335 marriage validations.
On another note, he said, Indonesians married to locals may also come to the Consulate General office to apply for their marriage validation.
"Indonesian Muslims could validate their marriage at the Indonesian religious affairs office while non-Muslims may go to the Indonesian civil registrar," he said.
Sahid Soepeno who will be ending his three-year term in February hoped the next Indonesian Consul General would continue with the programme because it benefits Indonesians working here.
"We want this to be a routine programme so that all Indonesian couples here may get their marriages validated," he said.
Among those getting their marriage validated was Zulkifli Awaludin, 25, and Fitriani Ali, 19, who got married in September last year.
"Getting our marriage validated would benefit not only us but also our four-month-old son, Risky Ramadhani," said Fitriani, who has been working in Sabah since 2000.
Another couple, Nasikhudin Samsudin, 35, and his wife, Nyami Paikem, 40, also took the opportunity to validate their marriage after tying the knot in November last year.
"This programme is good because it benefits us especially in terms of employment because with this marriage evidence we both have equal rights over income," said Nyami, who comes from East Java and has been living in Sabah since 2000.--Courtesy of The Daily Express