Selangor could become first state to raise Muslim marriage age to 18

DAWN CHAN

SHAH ALAM: Selangor could become the the first state in the country to raise the marriage age for Muslim men and women from 16 to 18 if the bill to amend the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 is passed in the state assembly.

Selangor state legislative assembly Ng Suee Lim said the state government will table a bill following the ruling by Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) to amend the age limit, which was decided recently.

“Should the amendment be approved, Selangor will be the first state government to pass a law that is more holistic and comprehensive. It is aimed at protecting the marriage of young couples and avert any incidences that could jeopardise their future,� said Ng.

Ng was speaking on the sidelines at the opening of the second meeting of the first term of the 14th state legislative assembly sitting on Monday.

Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, in his royal address earlier, said he was in agreement with the proposal to increase the marriage age of Muslim men and women in the state from 16 to 18.

He hoped that amendments to the enactment will be tabled during the state assembly sitting, which he officiated on Monday.

Sultan Sharafuddin voiced his concern over cases that involved Muslim couples getting married at a very young age, especially girls, and that he viewed these cases seriously.

He expressed concern that there could be adverse risks on the couple’s future and its impact to the community in the future.

Sultan Sharafuddin said he had instructed MAIS and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) to review the existing laws for Muslims in Selangor and make proposed improvements if needed.

Following that, MAIS and JAIS had presented the proposed amendments to the existing laws to Sultan Sharafuddin.

Sultan Sharafuddin also decreed that there were several other amendments that needed to be made to improve the procedures and the processes to consent to underage marriage in the Syariah Court.

He said these include conditions needed to be adhered to by parents and relevant parties such as acquiring records from the mental, physical, fertility, character and sociology aspects as well as consent from the applicant to ensure that their marriage would not bring about negative impacts.

Sultan Sharafuddin said for there are several provisions to the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 and the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 (Enakmen Tatacara Mal Mahkamah Syariah (Negeri Selangor) 2003 that are proposed to be amended. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd