KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The Shariah court system received more than 1,000 applications from Muslims for permission to marry minors last year, Parliament was told today.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim disclosed this in her written reply to Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, who asked for the number of marriages involving those under the age of 16 and steps taken to address such instances.
“According to the records of the Shariah Judiciary Department, the number of applications for child marriages (Muslim) was 827 in 2015. For child marriages registered by the Sarawak Native Customs Council, the number was 294 cases in 2015,” she said.
The minister added that there were no instances of non-Muslim child marriages as the practice was illegal for the group.
Child marriage is a contentious issue due to the young age of the girls involved.
Psychologists and critics of the practice argue that the girls are not yet physically or mentally mature to be ready for marriage.
Rohani previously stated that her ministry and the government did not condone the practice, but accepted that it was allowed under the country’s Shariah legal system.
In Malaysia, the legal minimum age for marriage under civil law for both genders is 18, with marriages involving those under this age requiring consent from the state mentri besar or chief minister.
Shariah laws here places the legal marrying age for Muslim boys and girls at 18 and 16, with girls aged below 16 allowed to be married off with the consent of the Shariah court.