KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has warned the Perikatan Nasional government against intimidating detractors, after the police launched a criminal investigation into a DAP MP’s comment about child marriage.
In a statement critical of Putrajaya’s handling of the matter, the former deputy prime minister said Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh was merely performing her duty as an elected representative when she questioned the new administration’s position on child marriage.
“I urge the authorities to be fair,” she said in a statement on her Facebook page.
“And to remind Putrajaya not to attempt political intimidation on any members of parliament who speak up about matters of public interest.”
Dr Wan Azizah is also the former women and community development minister, with Yeoh as her deputy.
In January, their ministry launched the National Strategic Plan for Addressing the Causes of Underage Marriage, a five-year plan that it hopes will end the ongoing practice of marriages with minors.
The 18-page plan listed seven objectives, to be achieved through 16 strategies and 58 programmes that will be executed by 61 agencies.
Seven states disagree with the legal amendment to child marriage laws, including Kelantan, the home state of current deputy women and community development minister and Rantau Panjang MP Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yussof.
In 2017, Siti Zailah was reported in Parliament rejecting a proposal for minimum age limit for marriages, saying it was the right of Muslims girl’s to be married at any age.
“So is it wrong for Hannah Yeoh, the deputy minister who worked together to prepare the strategic plan, to ask the status and progress to the current deputy minister considering Kelantan was one of the states that rejected the campaign to increase the age limit?” Dr Wan Azizah asked.
In her original months-old Tweet, Yeoh had expressed concern over the national roadmap to combat child marriage following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department deputy director (Investigation/Legal) DCP Mior Faridalathrash Wahid when contacted said the investigation is being carried out under Section 505 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.