JOHOR BAHRU, Sept 24 — Johor will not reduce the marriageable age, State Islamic Affairs and Education Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan said today.
The state would either maintain the marriageable age, 16 for women and 18 for men, or even raise it, he said.
Discussions would be held with relevant departments, including the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ), on the matter next month.
“I have proposed a special ‘muzakarah’ (discussion) on the marriageable age, either for it be maintained or increased, by reviewing various factors and causes in the current context,” he said to reporters after taking a look at the ongoing UPSR examination at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Skudai here.
The polemics on the marriageable age in the country started after a 15-year-old girl was married to a 44-year-old man in July in Kelantan.
The marriageable age in Johor is 16 for women and 18 for men, except where special permission is granted in cases linked to inevitable factors.
Aminolhuda was responding to a statement by the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, on his official social media account questioning a proposal by a mufti to lower the marriageable age to 14.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail proposed on Saturday to raise the marriageable age to 18 to safeguard the health, safety and rights of children in the country.
A working paper on the matter is to be prepared by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry for tabling at a meeting of the menteris besar and chief Ministers to garner their support.
On another matter, Aminolhuda said a meeting would be held soon with the advisory panel and secretariat on the proposed establishment of Universiti Johor as several matters would have to be looked into, such as financial support, the competency of the teaching staff and the syllabus. “We want to look into the aspect of financial support from the state government in establishing the university and we also need to ensure that at least 50 per cent of the teaching staff are PhD holders,” he added.
Aminolhuda said it was anticipated that the first intake of students for Universiti Johor would be in 2022 at the latest. — Bernama