Kota Baru - This is a case of "if you can`t come to us, then we will go to you". Owing to escalating unrest in the southern provinces of Thailand, which has deterred Muslim couples from crossing the border to get married, marriage syndicates have taken to bringing the jurunikah (person authorised to solemnise marriages) here.
Couples are charged a minimum RM1,000 for the services of these jurunikah from Yala and Pattani, a cheap price to pay compared to the danger they might face travelling to the restive provinces. Not only that, couples will be issued with marriage certificates stating that they have been married in Thailand.
It is learnt the syndicates came up with the "package" after a dip in the number of couples from Malaysia travelling to the provinces to tie the knot.
An operator said many couples were hesitant to step foot in Thailand for fear of being killed or injured.
"They jumped at the idea of getting married here using Thai jurunikah as it is convenient and safe.
"The package spared them the hassle of travelling to Sungai Golok or other Thai border towns."
He said his group conducted at least five marriages a month, with most of the couples coming from outside Kelantan. Customers got to know of the package by word of mouth.
However, there is bad news for couples who have used the service. Their marriages are illegal, state Mufti Datuk Abdullah Mohd Hassan has decreed. He said this was because Thai imam were not authorised to conduct marriages here.
He said couples who used their services should seek the advice of their respective religious departments as the matter was serious; their marriages were deemed invalid and living together would lead to more problems.
Source: http://www.nst.com.my (19 Juni 2007)