Malaysia should protect child victims from marrying their rapists

SERDANG: Malaysia should prohibit child victims from marrying their rapists, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (pic).

"A crime is still a crime. Whether or not the victim's parents allow her to marry her rapist, that is a different issue altogether," said Nur Jazlan.

He added that a universal stance needs to be taken with regards to child marriages.

"But I think we should be taking a universal stance on this issue. A minor may look physically mature but that doesn't mean that she is mentally mature," said Nur Jazlan.

He added that adults have a responsibility to protect children.

"Adults should know better not to get into a sexual relationship with a minor," he said at a press conference at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park here.

Nur Jazlan also questioned the readiness of a minor to fully commit to a relationship.

"Whatever Shabudin said, that is his opinion. But what's going to happen to these victims, they're young and they do not know better and that is precisely why they need to be protected by adults," he added.

The Pulai MP was responding to a statement by Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya who said there was nothing wrong with a rape victim marrying the rapist, suggesting that some "nine-year-olds" were "physically and spiritually" ready for marriage.

Shabudin said this on Tuesday when debating the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 after several opposition suggested amending it to include child marriages as an offence.

Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Kepayang) said Shabudin's statement was "despicable, sickening and insane," as it was not only an insult to women, but would also further encourage a serious crime such as rape.

Nga said that Shabudin should be sacked by Barisan Nasional if he fails to apologise and retract his statement, adding that sex with an underaged girl is statutory rape under Section 376 of the Penal Code even if the girl consents.

"Apparently for Shabudin, rape is an excuse for the offender to become a husband for his victim. This is both heinous and disgusting," said Nga at a press conference during the state assembly sitting here on Wednesday.

Similar views were shared by Wong May Ing (DAP-Pantai Remis) who said that Perak Pakatan Harapan women's wing would not tolerate the idea of using marriage to solve a crime like rape.

"Will Shabudin be able to accept a rapist as his son-in-law? We hope that as a former syariah court judge, he would also have more empathy towards rape victims when making public statements on such a sensitive issue," she said.