KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The child marriage in Gua Musang is still under active investigation by multiple agencies, says the Deputy Prime Minister.
In a statement Tuesday, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic), who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said her ministry is coordinating the investigation.
"We note the distress caused and the concerns raised by the incident involving a 41-year-old Malaysian man who allegedly married an 11-year-old Thai national living in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
"Our stand is clear and has consistently been the one expressed on July 2. We unequivocally oppose child marriages and are taking steps to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years.
"My officers are already working on this. Our position on this issue has not changed," she said.
She added that it was not wise to prejudge the issue before all the evidence is brought together and the investigation is complete.
"As the Government, we have to act within the laws of the federation. This is what the rule of law means.
"The actions we take in dealing with this alleged incident of child marriage must be based on evidence. We will issue a statement on this matter only after the investigation is complete," she said.
Dr Wan Azizah added that while the ministry understood the anger this incident had caused, it was important to not let personal feelings dictate the course of action that should be taken.
"It would be unjust to lynch someone by social media because of how we feel about the issue," she said.
A non-governmental organisation comprising noted and influential former civil servants had issued a statement urging the government to make child marriage a federal crime.
The G25 group said in the statement that once enforced, it would be a new law that had to be observed by all parties.
The issue of child marriages became a hot topic after the 41-year-old man married the 11-year-old girl in Narathiwat, Thailand.
The Syariah Court in Gua Musang imposed a RM1,800 fine on the man after he pleaded guilty to marrying the underage child without consent from the court and committing polygamy without the consent and agreement of his two wives. – Bernama