PETALING JAYA: Fear of unwanted pregnancies is one of the reasons why parents allow their children to marry early.
Early Childhood Care and Education Council (ECCE) president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said parents consented to their children marrying early to prevent pre-marital sex that could eventually tarnish the family’s reputation.
“They believe marriage is the best solution and do not think that the girl needs to go to school,” she said. “They also worry whether she could still be married off since she has lost her virginity.”
Dr Chiam said these parents did not appreciate the rights of the child but were more concerned about their reputation.
She said the parents might also not be aware that marrying their children off at a tender age could affect the youngsters’ health as well as limit their self-development.
She added that the children would be overpowered by their desires when not informed of the responsibility of sexual relationships and the importance of self-development and education.
“This could happen when parents do not communicate with their children and educate them on these things,’’ said Dr Chiam, adding that there was also a possibility that most times, the parents themselves were not well-informed of such issues.
She said schools too might not have taught the children life’s skills.
Meanwhile, Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Hood Salleh said traditions tied to socio-economic needs were also reasons behind child marriages.
He said it had been a custom in the past for parents to marry their daughters off at a young age to help secure socio-economic position for the child.
Dr Hood said it might have worked for communities as a form of security in the past. “However, society has since evolved.’
It was reported that Nur Fazira Saad, 12, married Mohd Fahmi Alias, 19, last week in Kedah after their families agreed to the union.