KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — The Department of Statistics Malaysia released its Marriage and Divorce Statistics 2018 last month, detailing the records taken in 2016 and 2017.

Malay Mail reported last month that fewer Malaysians married in 2017 compared to 2016, but also fewer were getting divorced over the same period — with the most number of divorcees between 30 and 34.

We took a deeper look at the report and statistics, and discovered a few more gems that might shed more insight into the gripping but sometimes perplexing institution of marriage here:

1. Muslims get married earlier


Across the board, in 2017, men on average got married later at 29 years compared to 28 in 2016. In comparison, women’s average age of marriage remained at 26.

Despite that, statistics showed that on average, Muslims got married earlier than non-Muslims. The median age of Muslim grooms was 27, three years younger than non-Muslims at 30.

Similarly, the average age of Muslim brides was 26, two years younger than non-Muslims at 28.


Men and women in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya also got married at a significantly later age than in any other state, with the median age of grooms and brides there at 30 and 28 respectively.


2. Oldest groom is 91, oldest bride is 84

In 2017, around one in 100 men older than 65 took a bride between 16 and 24 years old — making their brides more than 40 years their junior!

Interestingly, around two in 100 women over 65 years also married younger men aged from 18 to 24.

Unfortunately, not much data was provided for such cases, so we could not find out more about these marriages.


3. Perlis has highest divorce rate

For such a small state, Perlis recorded the highest proportion of divorces, with a crude divorce rate (CDR) of 2.6 divorce cases per 1,000 people. This was followed by Terengganu (2.2) and Negri Sembilan (2.1).

To put that into context, the national CDR was 1.6.

Perlis also recorded the highest proportion of divorces for both Muslim and non-Muslim males, at 12.5 per 1,000 people and 4.7, respectively, compared to 9.0 and 3.5 nationally.

When counted by total amount, Selangor, which also has the largest population in the country, naturally had the highest number of divorce cases in 2017 at 10,862.


4. Fewer inter-ethnic marriages

There were fewer inter-ethnic marriages in 2017 compared to 2016, with the number of such marriages among Muslims falling 9.2 per cent from 6,240 to 5,665.

Similarly, non-Muslim inter-ethnic marriages also fell 2.9 per cent from 10,047 to 9,758.

Almost half of Muslim inter-ethnic marriages were between Bumiputera brides and grooms from the “Others” group — that were not Bumiputera, ethnic Chinese or ethnic Indian.

This was followed by Bumiputera grooms with “Others” brides.

For non-Muslims, over half of such marriages were between Chinese grooms and “Others” brides.


5. December the most popular wedding month

We could only guess that this was due to the long one-month school holiday and festive season at the end of the year.

The second most popular month in 2017 to tie the knot was March, with a one-week mid-term school holiday.

In comparison, June was the least popular despite having a one-week school holiday — presumably because it coincided with the fasting month of Ramadan.