SERI KEMBANGAN, Aug 19 — Wanita Amanah today warned of the perils of child marriage and urged that the legal age for marriage be raised to 18 for Muslim girls.
The movement’s leader, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, said girls made to marry before they are prepared often become dependent on family and the government for aid, but acknowledged the practice was not common.
“Don’t be too quick to get into marriage before having enough preparations. We are no more in an era where most men are responsible and trustworthy in their role as the family head.
“In short, the leadership of AWAN agree that the marriageable age for Muslim women also be raised to 18 years-old and not 16, which is the same age limit set for women from other races and religion in the country,” she said during the wing's annual meeting today.
Dr Siti Mariah clarified that she was not calling for a ban of child marriages, but was instead advocating that the Shariah courts be more vigilant when approving child marriage applications.
The age of marriage for Muslims in Malaysia is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, but those younger than this may obtain special dispensation to marry from the heads of their individual states.
For non-Muslims, the legal age for marriage is 18.