KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The son of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said he discovered his estranged wife was not a virgin on their wedding night on January 9, 1992, the Shariah Court here heard today.
The status of Shahnaz Abdul Majid’s virginity has become a key issue in Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir’s bid to dismiss his ex-wife’s claim for a RM400 million divorce settlement.
“After we were solemnised on January 9, 1992, I found that the plaintiff was no longer a virgin when we were solemnised,” he testified at the divorce retrial today.
Shahnaz’s counsel, however, objected to Abu Bekir’s testimony, arguing that the questions posed by the defendant’s lawyer, Datuk Zainul Rijal, were meant to discredit the plaintiff.
Shahnaz’s lawyer Rafie Mohd Shafie said Abu Bekir’s testimony was damning to the plaintiff, as she did not have the chance to defend herself, having already taken her turn in the witness stand earlier this year.
In her testimony, Shahnaz had refused to state if she was a virgin when she married Abu Bekir.
Justice Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahabt said he allowed the objection as the deeming the “manner” of the questioning about Shahnaz’s virginity had been “inappropriate”.
The Shariah Court judge then ruled that Abu Bekir’s lawyers might include the issue in their submission, as the status of his ex-wife’s virginity is important in determining the appropriate quantum for the plaintiff’s financial claims.
The judge had also denied the plaintiff’s application to expunge the testimony by Abu Bekir, using the same grounds.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Abu Bekir said he felt awkward about discussing Shahnaz’s virginity.
“I wasn’t comfortable about it,” he said.
His lawyers later explained that virginity is a key determining factor on amounts of compensation.
“In Shariah law, the status of the plaintiff is important. Whether she is a virgin, a divorcee and such will become the threshold for the judge to define the quantum,” Zainul told reporters.
In her divorce papers, Shahnaz, who holds an MBA in finance, is seeking some RM400 million in a divorce settlement, including matrimonial property and “mutaah” (Islamic conciliatory payment), as well as half the assets owned by her ex-husband, including seven luxury cars, thousands of hectares of land in Sarawak, homes in countries abroad and shares in about 15 companies.
According to previous media reports, the sister of Malaysian jazz queen Datuk Sheila Majid, had sought to end the marriage in accordance with the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984, citing her husband’s alleged failure to give her “nafkah batin” (conjugal rights) since 2001.
Shahnaz and Mahmud Abu Bekir married on January 9, 1992, when they were aged 28, and they have a 20-year-old son named Raden Murya.
Mahmud Abu Bekir filed for divorce almost two decades later on May 11, 2011.
The hearing for the divorce retrial will resume on September 2.