Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 12:01 UK

Malaysia state in honeymoon offer

Malaysian beaches (file image)
Crystal-clear waters and palm trees may help couples stave off divorce

A state in north-east Malaysia says it will offer free second honeymoons to couples on the brink of divorce.

Ashaari Idris, a government official in Terengganu, said troubled couples would be allowed to spend two nights at one of the state's scenic island resorts.

He said those who wished to take part would have to apply, undergo an interview and also commit to marital counselling.

He said the programme was aimed at building family ties.

"After marriage, some are unable to cope with the new challenges," Mr Ashaari told the AFP news agency.

Couples faced issues like financial problems or difficulties with their in-laws, he said.


"I want to strengthen family ties. If a marriage breaks down, it will hurt the children and it will have serious implications on society," he said.

The Muslim-majority state had already carried out a pilot project involving 25 couples, he said.

Not everyone in Malaysia is convinced though. Professor Nurani Ottman of the University of Malaysia says that the situation reflects the increasing rates of divorce in the north-east of Malaysia.

"I don't think this can be a significant contribution - the problem and context is far more serious and much deeper," she says.

"It might cheer them up for about three weeks and after that they'll probably go up to Thailand and get a quick divorce."

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