KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 ― Selangor Speaker Hannah Yeoh today urged women to actively involve themselves in politics and occupy legislative assemblies, in a bid to reject any leaders with “perverted mindsets”.
“This should be the awakening call for women to realise that the time is now to enter politics and occupy space in Parliament/State Assemblies. There is no greater urgency than now to kick such perverted mindset out, so our next generation of girls can be found in a safer environment,” Yeoh told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
The Subang Jaya state assemblywoman made the remark after Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmaker Datuk Shabudin Yahya told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, that rape victims be married to their attackers, to reduce social problems.
“The thing is they have an opportunity — with a marriage they can lead a healthy and good life,” he said during the committee stage debate of the Bill.
“For a wife that was raped, if she can marry (the person) she would not go through such a bleak future. At least she has someone who can become her husband. So this will be a remedy to social problems,” he added.
The Tasek Gelugor MP said so while objecting to an amendment to the Bill proposed by Teo Nie Ching (Kulai-DAP), who wanted the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill to be amended to also spell out the invalidity of child marriages.
“It is a perverted mindset to think that a child having a seemingly mature body is ready to be married to her rapist.
“Which right minded father would ever say such a thing?” a clearly aghast Yeoh, a mother of two young daughters, added.
In his argument, Shabudin said that it is not fair to “assume” that a person committed a sexual offence will continue being a “bad person”.
He also said that physically and spiritually it is not a problem to marry off girls aged between 9 to 12 years old.
“They reach puberty at the age of 9, or 12. And at that time, the physical state of their body is already akin to them being 18 years old,” he said.
“So physically and spiritually it is not a barrier for the girl to marry,” he added.
Shabudin was defending existing provisions which allows minors to be married off as long as their parents or guardians seek permission from the Shariah Courts.
There is limited data about child marriages in Malaysia, but it was previously reported that around 15,000 girls below the age of 19 are married in the country.
The new Bill by Putrajaya criminalises sexual connection without consent to minors aged 18 and below, but provisions allowing child marriages was not addressed in the Bill.