Minor marriages and the social dangers to the victims by Malaysian minister

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Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil

Conductors and umpires of Sharia marriages are being urged to be more responsible and more  sensitive to the the effects and social consequences  of such marriages even though the laws permits it.

According to a Malaysian Minister: “The Sharia Courts should be selective and exercise wisdom in giving consent for underage girls to get married”

Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Malaysian Minister for Women, Family and Community Develop­ment during a recent conference said many minors are put in danger of life destruction and should be spared of a future agony precipitated by the result or outcome of such marriages.

She said the courts before acknowledging and approving minor marriages in Sharia laws should examine the consequences and act responsibly when granting consent because practices of underage marriages should not become a norm in the Malaysian society.

“I am aware that according Syariah laws, it (child marriage) is not wrong. But is it the right thing to do?

“We must look into the long-term implications and the impact on the child and also the institution of marriage itself,” she said.

Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil cited a marriage between one 14-year-old Siti Maryam Mahmod and 23-year-old Abdul Manan Othman as a case in point drawing conclusion that both parties were too young for a normal marriage.

Shahrizat was speaking after launching the International Conference on: “The Family Institution in the 21st Century- Ideals and Realities”, in Petalin Jaya on Monday.

Shahrizat also questioned the young child’s ability to run a family and raise her child when she herself needed guidance from an adult at such tender age.

“It is not our culture in Malaysia to practise child marriage, hence if possible, I hope such cases will not occur again,” she added.

Siti Maryam and Manan were one of the more than 200 couples who participated in a Malaysia mass wedding celebration at the Federal Territory Mosque recently.

Muslim girls below the age of 16 can marry with the Syariah Court’s consent.

By M. SHAMINEE