In Penang, more calls for age of consent for marriage to be set at 18

Ong said children should be given a chance to go to school and finish their education instead of being married off at a young age. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Ong said children should be given a chance to go to school and finish their education instead of being married off at a young age. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 8 — Another backbencher at the Penang state legislative assembly today called for the age of consent for marriage in the state to be increased to 18 years old.

Ong Ah Teong (PH - Batu Lanchang) said he fully supported Seri Delima assemblyman Syerleena Abdul Rashid’s call for the age of consent to be increased.

“Selangor has already taken the step to increase the age of consent and I fully supported the Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s move to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 in Selangor,” he said.

He said children should be given a chance to go to school and finish their education instead of being married off at a young age.

“I hope the state government will follow in the footsteps of Selangor to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18,” he said.

Zolkifly Md Lazim (PH - Teluk Bahang) stood up to say that in some cases, underage children were allowed to get married as a prevention of premarital sex in school.

He said this is for young couples who are still schooling and both sides agreed to the marriage.

Satees Muniandy (PH - Bagan Dalam) disagreed with Zolkifly.

“To prevent premarital sex among school children, sex education should be taught in schools instead of allowing child marriage,” he said.

Ong said he is merely expressing his full support for the minimum age of marriage to be raised to 18 years.

“I’m not talking about anything else, only to state my support to raise the age to 18 years,” he said.

Yesterday, Syerleena said the state government must follow in the footsteps of Selangor to amend its law to increase the minimum age of marriage to 18 years.

Sultan Selangor Sharafuddin had decreed that the age limit for underage marriage shall be increased from 16 to 18.

This was followed by a call from the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) for an amendment to the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 to increase the age limit from 16 to 18.

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