KOTA BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Muslim men who plan to take on more wives can now head to the north-eastern state of Kelantan instead of southern Thailand, a state official said.
State Family Development, Welfare and the People's Wellbeing committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi said the state government would help men who wanted to get married, irrespective of whether they were bachelors, or were already married.
"This is to encourage the birth of more Muslim children," she told reporters after attending the 17th Disabled Persons' Day on Thursday (Feb 2).
"The Kelantan Government will assist those who intend to have more children by taking second, third or fourth wives," said Mumtaz.
"We will give them comprehensive information and counselling to guarantee that the children from these marriages will turn out to be good Muslims.
"This move is also to discourage such husbands from going to a neighbouring country to marry as that would result in many problems including property divisions and the rights of the other wives," she said.
Mumtaz said the state government wanted to encourage more women to give birth to "excellent children".
"It is not for men to take advantage of the policy by taking more wives simply to appease their lust."
She said marriages that were based on lust, and not responsibility, were bound to end up in divorce.
"A responsible husband and father is very important for children to grow up physically and spiritually healthy," she said.
Six years ago, the Kelantan government created a furore by attempting to give incentives to those who wanted to practise polygamy.
The then senior exco member Wan Ubaidah Omar was reported as saying that the main condition for the incentive, which would include monetary assistance, was for the husbands to inform all the women involved of his marital status and at the same time, make it known to society.