SEPANG, Sept 18 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today the federal government does not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the latest case of a 15-year-old child bride in Kelantan.
Dr Wan Azizah who is also women, family and community development minister said the federal government must abide the decision of the state Shariah court that allowed the minor’s marriage as a second wife to a man 30 years her senior.
“We have laws to say if they break it, then they have to pay some fine.
“But they were married by the Shariah court, so you have to also abide [by it] because it is also state regulations,” she told reporters after officiating the ceremony of the Taska [email protected] Q child care centre at the AirAsia headquarters here.
Dr Wan Azizah said Welfare Department officers have already met the child bride and her family.
She said though the Federal government is looking into raising the marriage age to 18-years-old, certain processes must be followed as it involves state laws.
“My officers are there now and they have met her (the girl). They are going to look through the case because we are trying to raise the age (of marriage) to 18 (years old).
“But they have been married by the Shariah court so we have go through that process and then try to raise the age,” she said.
Earlier in her opening speech, Dr Wan Azizah addressed the issue of child marriages, but had called for the public to be empathetic of the family’s ordeal.
“I do have a problem with child marriages but I understand the predicament they are in.
“If you understand the way they live, their way of life, you would have a little bit of understanding of why it happens,” said Dr Wan Azizah.
“We want to save this girl. We can go a long way if all of us pool our resources and give all the support.”
This morning, another child marriage case was reported in Kelantan involving a 15-year-old girl taken by a man almost 30 years her senior to be his second wife.
It was said that the Muslim solemnisation of vows — between the man who is a member of the People’s Volunteer Corp (Rela) and the 15-year-old who is a secondary school dropout — was done in July at the Masjid Kampung Laut in Tumpat, Kelantan.
The Shariah court had approved the marriage between the girl, who is the youngest daughter of a poor couple with 13 children, and the 44-year-old man who already has two children.
The father, Che Rahim Che Deraman, 60, and his wife, Mariam Hassan, reportedly said they consented to the marriage due to their poverty and desire for a better life for her
In June, a 41-year-old Malaysian rubber tapper had married an 11-year-old Thai Muslim girl — with the latter being his daughter’s friend. The Thai child was made his third wife against the wishes of his first and second wife.