GEORGE TOWN: There may be exceptional and rare cases where marriage needs to be considered between young people having consensual sex, said state Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid (pic).
“I am a person on the ground. I have seen from my own experience, 14-year-old girls going out with their boyfriends. They have sex and get pregnant.
“They were not supervised by their parents properly. Some of their parents are also not around or are separated.”
These, she said, were societal problems and parents were known to marry the pairs off after the girls got pregnant.
“They are the exceptions and not the rule. But you cannot shut it out and say that it is not happening.
“Of course the children are not ready for marriage. But how else do you solve these problems?” Jahara asked.
Adding that “exceptional circumstances have to be viewed exceptionally”, she said Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya was expressing his views based on what he went through as a former Syariah court judge.
“Read the full text of Shabudin’s speech. Do not take a portion and blow it up. Understand the whole issue first and do not form a biased conclusion.”
She said it was preposterous to let rapists marry the victims to escape prosecution and the rape cases Shabudin pointed out were not cases of forceful violations but statutory rape, in which underaged girls willingly had sex.
She said it was a touchy issue that could be politicised, but society should not turn a blind eye to it.
“In certain cases, the parents can give consent to marriage. That is the situation now only in statutory rape cases that are exceptional,” she said when contacted yesterday.
In trying to refute Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja), Shabudin had told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday that some girls aged 12 to 15 looked older than their actual ages.
The former Syariah court judge had said some girls – who reached puberty when they were as young as nine – were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.