KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The marriage between an 11-year-old girl and a 41-year-old man in Kelantan is illegal, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The Deputy Prime Minister said this was because the marriage had not received the consent of the Syariah court as the girl was under the minimum legal age for marriage.
"The marriage is not legal and they must be separated," she told a press conference after officiating an Aidilfitri open house with 2,000 asnaf orphans organised by Insaf Malaysia at the Setiawangsa Mini Stadium here Sunday (July 1).
Present were Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Insaf Malaysia president Ishak Abdul Kadir.
According to the Islamic Family Law Enactment which applies in all states, the minimum legal age for marriage is 18 for a male and 16 for a female. Those under the legal minimum age will only be permitted to get married if they get the consent of the Syariah court and their parents.
The issue of child marriage came into the spotlight after the news of a 41-year-old man marrying a girl 30 years younger than him went viral on social media, drawing flak from various parties since Friday.
Initial investigations by the Kelantan Welfare Department found that the marriage took place in Golok, Thailand and the girl's parents were said to be Thai nationals.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said her ministry's officials were still unable to locate the groom.
In the meantime, she said the child marriage issue should be viewed in a holistic manner and it should be examined whether such a case involved any elements of paedophilia, child exploitation and child pornography.
Dr Wan Azizah also said that it was time for the minimum age for marriage for females to be increased from 16 to 18. - Bernama