DPM: Nearly 8,000 bids for underage marriage

Jerry Choong
Wan Azizah said the figure only took applications into account and not whether they were approved. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Authorities received almost 8,000 applications for marriages involving minors in just four years, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told Parliament today.

Dr Wan Azizah, who also holds the women, family and community development portfolio, said that of the applications from 2013 to 2017, 5,362 were by Muslims to the Department of Syariah Judiciary, and 2,367 by non-Muslims to the National Registration Department.

“The figures only take applications into account and not whether they were approved, as that must be obtained from a Syariah judge for Muslims, and from the office of the chief minister or mentri besar of the relevant state for non-Muslims,” she said in Dewan Rakyat today.

Dr Wan Azizah was responding to Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah who asked for the number of marriages involving minors in Malaysia and the government’s action to prevent exploitation in the practice.

The minister said the government was formulating a solution to effectively prevent the practice by standardising the minimum age for marriage at 18 years’ old across all jurisdictions.

“This will involve acts including Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, Islamic Family Ordinace Laws in every state, the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, as well as Pribumi customary laws in Sarawak,” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah added the process will also include consulting experts in child psychology, culture, and Shariah law so as to get as many necessary viewpoints before being able to proceed.

The controversy of child marriages was reignited here after a 41-year-old man in Kelantan wed an 11-year-old Thai girl.