Legal Aid Bureau swamped by divorce cases

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Legal Aid Bureau is inundated with divorces that are taking away resources for it to handle other types of cases, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

In her closing speech while debating amendments to the Legal Aid Bereau Act 1971, the de facto law minister expressed regret that the bureau was being reduced to a “divorce department”.

“Automatically, people perceive the Legal Aid (Bureau) as the divorce department, and I think that is not right.

“In the chart that I have mentioned in the Legal Aid Act … you would all be surprised that the jurisdiction of the Legal Aid Bureau is wide,” Azalina said.

She read out some matter that the bureau could handle, including those relating to a couples’ matrimonial wealth, civil litigation and the Money Lenders Act.

“But all the cases that come to us are always about divorce,” Azalina said, adding that while couples claim that they are faced with financial issues, they later show otherwise during court proceedings.