Malaysia state offers honeymoons to halt divorce rate

Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:26am EDT
 
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Malaysia's eastern state of Terengganu is offering free honeymoons worth up to $440 each to rekindle the romance between married couples on the brink of divorce.

The honeymoon package comes with some counseling and is an attempt to slow soaring divorce rates in the state, according to The Star newspaper reported on Monday.

"We can understand newlyweds having problems understanding one another, where a slight skirmish could lead to a separation but it is unacceptable for those married more than two decades to file for divorce," the paper quoted Terengganu Welfare Community Development and Women Affairs committee chairman, Ashaari Idris, as saying.

The conservative Muslim state did not disclose divorce rates.

Idris said the state had carried out a successful pilot project where 25 couples facing marital woes were selected for three-day honeymoon package that cost around 1,500 ringgit ($440) per couple.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country. Under Islam, divorce is allowed, but frowned upon, with the Prophet Mohammed saying divorce was, in the eyes of God, the most distasteful lawful act.

(Reporting by Royce Cheah, editing by Miral Fahmy)