PETALING JAYA, July 1 — The recent case of a 41-year-old Kelantanese man marrying an 11-year-old Thai is unlawful, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
Dr Wan Azizah clarified that the marriage was unlawful as the girl’s father was not approved by the court as her custodian (wali).
Being underage, the court also did not approve of her being married off to an older man, said Dr Wan Azizah.
“The marriage is not valid and they must be separated,” said Dr Wan Azizah.
The controversial marriage went viral on social media last Thursday after it was shared by the man’s second wife.
The man is said to have married the child in Thailand on June 18 and his 34-year-old wife only found out about it after a friend showed her a photograph of the wedding.
Under Islamic family law enactments in all states, the minimum age of marriage for males is 18 and 16 for females.
Below those ages, marriage is only permitted if the couple’s parents consent and if the Shariah court gives permission. There is no minimum age of marriage for Muslims.
The initial investigation by the Kelantan Welfare Department (JKM) found the marriage was conducted in Golok, Thailand, and the parents of the child were Thai citizens.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister, said the ministry’s efforts to track the 41-year-old failed as he could not be reached.
Dr Wan Azizah added that underage marriages should be viewed in a holistic manner to find out whether elements of paedophilia, child exploitation and child pornography exist.
Dr Wan Azizah also said that it was time to increase the age limit of marriage involving girls from 16 to 18.