Spouses must apply for the dissolution of their marriages or obtain Presumption of Death orders before making claims on properties.
PUTRAJAYA: The next of kin of Muslim victims of the MH370 tragedy cannot make claims against their estates until their marriages have been legally dissolved, according to a syariah lawyer.
This is in spite of the government having declared that everyone on board had perished, said Musa Awang, the president of the Syariah Lawyers Association of Malaysia.
“In my opinion, even with the declaration made by the government about the status of MH370, this has not dissolved the marriage status of victims and any claims against an estate cannot be made,” he said.
“Only the court may issue the Presumption of Death order.”
Musa said that a spouse may apply for a dissolution of marriage if the partner has disappeared for more than a year. In the case of MH370 victims, they may apply for the Presumption of Death declaration, he added.
He cited Section 18 of the Registration of Births and Deaths 1957, saying it clearly stated that every death in the country must be registered with the condition that the body was found.
In the case of a body not found or individual had been classified as thought to be dead, then the Presumption of Death order must be obtained from the High Court under Section 108 of the Evidence Act 1950, he said.
He said that in the case of Presumption of Death, the National Registration Department (JPN) would not register or issue a death certificate, but would only update the information in the system.
“For matters pertaining to individuals who have been presumed dead, the next-of-kin must use the order issued by the court,” he added.
Yesterday, Department of Civil Aviation director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman officially declared the missing MAS Flight MH370 as having undergone an accident under international aviation rules, and that all 239 passengers and crew aboard were presumed to have lost their lives.
Azharuddin said the declaration was made in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, commonly referred to as the Chicago Convention.
The Boeing 777 aircraft which was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, disappeared from radar screens while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, about an hour after departing from the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, 2014.