Kelantan Govt urges parents of 11-year-old child bride to legalise marriage

GUA MUSANG: The Kelantan state government has called on the family of the 11-year-old girl who married a 41-year-old man to legally register their marriage and seek a hearing at the Syariah court.

This comes despite the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had on Sunday (July 1) said that the marriage was illegal.

State Women, Family Development and Welfare committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi also called on the family to seek the advice of the religious authorities in Narathiwat.

"As the marriage was solemnised in Thailand, it is better to also seek the advice of the religious authorities there," she said.

Mumtaz also advised the "groom" to enrol the girl into a pondok school (religious school) or any other suitable education institution.

The girl, born to migrant parents, has never gone to school.

Meanwhile, Kelantan PAS Muslimat chief Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof revealed that the marriage was solemnised without the approval of the Narathiwat Islamic Religious Council (NRC).

"I met the NRC president Baba Syafie, and he said Thai laws also forbid marriages involving underage children. In this particular case, he also confirmed no application was made to the NRC prior to the solemnisation," she said.

Galas assemblyman Mohd Syahbuddin Hashim said there could be more such cases involving child marriage but escaped public attention.

"However, we shouldn't be judgmental. I have met the family, and found there is no element of compulsion," he said.

The 41-year-old groom Che Abdul Karim Che Hamid said he would extend full co-operation to the religious authorities investigating into the case.

"I did not do anything wrong that is against the religion. I have sought the advice of religious authorities in Southern Thailand before marrying her.

"I can accept whatever punishment, but please do not force me to divorce. "Furthermore, I am engaged in a suspended marriage.

"My young wife would not be staying with me until she turns 16," said the man who has two other wives aged 41 and 34.

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