KULAI: An inability to adapt to life under the new norms of the Covid-19 pandemic is a large reason why couples divorced in Johor, says Dr Salmi Jalina Jalil(pic).

The Johor Family Centre of the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) director said that the pandemic has created many issues, such as financial instability or the loss of an income source.

“Parents that used to be busy working are now spending more time at home due to the movement control order and, along that line, there might be some confrontation during the time to adapt to the new norm.

“The environment and internal pressure might have caused some of the relationships to fail to cope,” she added.

She said this when met by The Star after the launch of the Malaysia Family Month Celebration at Dewan Terbuka Apartment Temenggong, here on Sunday (Nov 21).

She added that the high number of divorce applications could also be caused by the limited access to the Johor Islamic Religious Council (Maij) and the National Registration Department (NRD), as the departments were either closed or working in a limited capacity during the movement control order (MCO).

Dr Salmi said this when asked to comment on the report regarding the 78,000 divorces recorded nationwide between March last year and August this year, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Selangor has the most cases of Muslim divorces with 12,479, followed by Johor (7,558), Kedah (5,985), and Kelantan (5,982).

Dr Salmi said that based on the LPPKN Fifth Malaysian Population and Family Survey (MPFS) report in 2014, one of the main reasons for divorce is the presence of a third person in the relationship, ranging from in-laws, parents, siblings, and other family members.

“We can seek advice and counsel from them, but do not let them make the decision on behalf of the couple. There are also cases of cheating and misunderstanding, but in general, there is no single factor that causes a divorce,” she said.

Dr Salmi added that the source of a divorce can be categorised into two causes, external and internal.

“A third person’s presence is one of the external causes, and the internal cause is more on the couple’s themselves; being too young in a relationship and not having enough knowledge of marital education.

“LPPKN provides pre-marital classes for all Malaysians regardless of race and religion. “We teach them how to improve their relationships, aside from preparing them for parenthood,” she added.

Dr Salmi also said that LPPKN also provides online counselling sessions for couples.

“Aside from calling our toll-free line at 1800-82-0300, couples can also set an appointment with us online,” she added.

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