KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The ideological disparity between Umno and PAS was brought to the fore today when Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said told a deputy minister from the latter not to use her faith to undo protections against the sexual exploitation of children.
Former minister in charge of legal affairs Azalina was commenting on a news report of Deputy Women and Family Development Minister Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff rebutting her predecessor, Hannah Yeoh’s concern that the move to ban child marriages could be in jeopardy.
“YB, don’t use RELIGION to negate or manipulate protective laws for our children esp the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
“Please don’t allow predators to use marriage as a way out (or way in!) to justify sexual exploitation,” Azalina wrote on Twitter today.
In the report, Siti Zailah said the policy to ban child marriage will be reviewed in consultation with the “ulama” or Muslim clerics.
Prior to its collapse, the Pakatan Harapan administration had been working to introduce a nationwide ban on child marriage.
The plan was complicated as it involved Islamic laws and consequently required that all states support the plan in order for it to be effective.
Among those who did not subscribe to the proposed ban were Kelantan and Terengganu that are governed by PAS.
Umno and PAS are nominally allies in the Perikatan Nasional ruling coalition.