BRUNEI will introduce marriage cards for Muslim couples as part of its new e-Syariah Court Management System.

Hj Hassan Hj Metali, Acting Chief Registrar at the Syariah Appeal Court, yesterday said a pair of marriage cards will be issued to every newlywed couple once the e-Syariah Court Management System is up and running in the next two years.

The cards will be the same size as identification cards, enabling Muslim couples to carry their proof of marriage with greater convenience.

“With the marriage cards, couples can easily show their proof of wedlock when needed. For example, if there is an inspection or ambush carried out by law enforcement, marriage cards will be accepted to prove the couple is married,” explained Hj Hassan.

Under the newly-enforced Syariah Penal Code Order, unmarried couples face heavy penalties for crimes such as khalwat.

Unmarried Muslim couples who live together or are caught in close proximity will be fined as much as $4,000, handed a jail term of up to a year or both under Section 196. Any non-Muslim involved in khalwat with a Muslim will also face the same punishment.

The Acting Chief Registrar said the proposed marriage cards will look similar to the marriage cards for couples in Malaysia.

Issued by the Federal Territory Religious Affairs Department, Malaysian marriage cards include portrait pictures of the husband and wife. The marriage cards, which come embedded with security chips, are also a lot smaller than marriage certificates.

“Insya’Allah, couples will be required to register and take portrait pictures in order for their marriage cards to be processed,” said Hj Hassan.

The marriage cards will only be issued to couples who marry after the e-Syariah Court Management System is fully implemented by the end of 2016. However, couples who exchanged vows earlier will also be allowed to apply for the marriage cards.

“It won’t be mandatory for those married before the system is launched, but they can still register for the marriage cards if they wish to do so,” said the Acting Chief Registrar.

The Brunei Government and local IT firm ZimacSilicon Technologies Sdn Bhd yesterday signed a six-year contract worth $1.75 million for the implementation and maintenance of the e-Syariah Court Management System.-The Brunei Times

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