DPM: Govt to investigate issue of 11-year-old girl married in Kelantan

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she had received a report on the case and asked the Welfare Services Department to meet with the girl’s mother to get more information. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she had received a report on the case and asked the Welfare Services Department to meet with the girl’s mother to get more information. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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ALOR SETAR, June 30 ― The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will conduct a study and thorough investigation into the issue of a girl, 11, who is alleged to have married a 41-year-old man in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she had received a report on the case and asked the Welfare Services Department to meet with the girl’s mother to get more information.

“A thorough investigation must also be conducted because it involves the state Syariah Enactment.

“We also have to look into why it happened. Was it caused by poverty, education, family issues or other problems,” she told reporters after visiting the Sungai Kedah/Anak Bukit Flood Mitigation Plan project here today.

The case of a 41-year-old man marrying an 11-year-old girl went viral on the social media yesterday after it was shared by the man’s second wife.

The man is said to have married the child in Thailand on the 4th of Syawal and the 34-year-old wife only found out about it after a friend showed her the man’s marriage photograph.

Meanwhile, in Putrajaya, a statement from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said it viewed the case of the marriage of an underaged girl in Kelantan as serious.

It said initial investigations found that the girl and her 41-year-old husband had applied for the marriage to be registered voluntarily and without force.

However, it said, if a girl under the age of 16 years was married without a written consent from the Syariah Court Judge, it would be considered an offence under Section 40 of the Kelantan Islamic Family Law Enactment.

“To date, there are no records either in court or the Gua Musang Religious Office allowing the marriage,” it said.

If found guilty, the individual concerned could be sentenced up to RM1,000 or imprisonment up to six months or both.

The statement also said investigations found that the marriage was held in Golok, Thailand, and the girls’ parents were Thai citizens.

“The agreement between her parents and the husband was that she would only go to live with him after she turns 16,” it said.

The statement also said the  National Council for Children and Child Welfare had formed a task force comprising related government agencies, academicians and child activists to look into the issue of underaged marriages.

Separately, commenting on Umno’s accounts being frozen by the MACC which is seen as bullying, Dr Wan Azizah said this was done according to the law.

“The MACC is following the standard operating procedure. if there is nothing, the accounts will not be frozen long, but if there is something, then it must be investigated...if we find millions, of course we have to investigate,” she said.

Meanwhile Dr Wan Azizah, in a statement, said she was felt moved to see that Malaysians were sensitive and responsive to the issue.

Stressing that the government would study the loopholes under the existing laws to ensure the rule of law in the country was the best legislation for all, she said the government would also ensure there was no discrimination or oppression against any parties, including children.

“The government is committed to ensuring the legal system in our country is fair and protects the rights and honour of all parties,” she added. ― Bernama

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