KUALA LUMPUR, July 31— The Federal Territories Shariah Courts approved 238 underage marriage application between 2010 to this year, the government said today.
In a written reply dated July 25, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Religious Affairs, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that although underage marriages are disallowed in Islam, there are cases where permission has been obtained from the Shariah Court, for “permitted reasons and not a blanket approval”.
“As for the number of underage marriages, for the Federal Territories, based on checks at the Federal Territories Shariah Court, the number of underage marriage applications approved from 2010 to date are 238 cases,” Jamil said.
As for the reasons for such matrimony, Jamil said that there is no ‘wholesome research’ in the Federal Territories Shariah Courts and those in other states to justify that factors such as socio-economic backgrounds, residing in either rural or a city and others had an impact in leading to such marriages.
He was responding to a question from DAP’s Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham, who had asked the Prime Minister to state the number of underage marriages approved by the Shariah Courts during the said time period, and if factors such as socio-economic backgrounds, religion, race, the areas in which those partaking in underage marriages reside (rural or city), influences the need for such unions.
However, Jamil said that there are cases whereby application for such marriages were rejected by the Shariah Courts owing to factors such as the applicant not being able to support his wife, unsatisfactory discipline report from the schools of the applicants and insufficient religious knowledge of the applicants, including household matters, which the courts found to be unsatisfactory or insufficient.