DPM: Child marriage amendments only next year

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that the two laws are the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that the two laws are the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Putrajaya plans to amend two laws next year to tighten requirements for child marriages in order to protect minors who enter such matrimony, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

During Parliament’s Question Time today, Dr Wan Azizah who is also the women, family and community minister, told the Lower House that the two laws are the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984.

“The amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 will be presented to the Cabinet in 2019. The amendment will include social reports, health reports and a police report to be submitted for underage marriage under Act 164 which is helmed by the Home Ministry.

“The government also plans on tabling a law for the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act and Act 164 during the second term of Dewan Rakyat 2019 at the latest,” she said in reply to Khairy Jamaluddin (BN - Rembau).

For Muslims, the Shariah Court has begun enforcing an Underage Marriage Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) since July 23 2018.

Before approving a child marriage, a Shariah Court judge may demand a social report from the state Welfare Department, a health report from the state Health Department, and a police report.

“Information such as the background of the applicant and bride, income, social status, financial ability and education are among the elements that must be stated through the social report so the Shariah judge can make a decision which protects children involved in underage marriages,” she said.

The authorities overseeing the approval of child marriages include the Shariah Court Department, the Home Ministry, State Religious Council and Customary Courts.

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