Yeoh: Shariah nod doesn’t mean cops can’t probe child marriages

Anith Adilah
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said the agency should still establish if elements of child grooming exist in any of the cases. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Police must not take the Shariah courts’ approval for recent child marriages as indication that no further investigations were required, said Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh.

The deputy women, family and community development minister said the agency should still establish if elements of child grooming exist in any of the cases.

“There is nothing stopping the police from investigating further. What I’m saying is, although Shariah Courts have recognised these marriages as valid, we must check the background of how they came to be in the first place.

“We have laws against child grooming, so please fully utilise it,” she told reporters after a fire hydrant testing and flushing exercise at Taman Sri Sinar in Segambut today.

Yeoh was referring to Offences Relating to Child Grooming under Part III of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.

Those found guilty of communicating with a child for the purpose of publishing, accessing, selling and distributing child pornography, or making sexual and non-sexual assaults will face the maximum penalty of five years jail time and whipping.

Yeoh’s remark came after another recent case of child marriage in Kelantan, this time involving a 15-year-old girl and a man nearly 30 years her senior.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail previously confirmed that the marriage was established with mutual consent.

After she was criticised, Dr Wan Azizah reiterated on Friday that she did not condone child marriages and that her previous statement was made based on reports by Welfare Department officers.

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