KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Malaysians should not amplify and sensationalise the issue of child marriages, Kelantan deputy mentri besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said today after a case involving a man there caused public uproar.
Mohd Amar told Sinar Harian that child marriage has long been a common occurrence, and authorities should instead pay attention to “bigger issues” such as LGBT matters and zina, or illicit sex.
“I feel this issue should not be sensationalised. Like I always said, the issue of zina, children born out of wedlock, gays and lesbians, are bigger issues for the country.
“This issue is not wrong in religion, and should not be amplified as a national issue. It is an isolated case, not all men marry an 11-year-old,” he was quoted as saying.
He also insisted that the illegal wedding happened in southern Thailand and not in his state.
The Narathiwat Islamic Religious Council was reported as saying the couple were married by an imam in Kampung Padang Nyor, Mukim Munok, Sungai Golok, in Narathiwat.
Bernama reported earlier that the Kelantan police have opened an investigation paper on the child marriage involving an 11-year-old girl with a 41-year-old man in Gua Musang recently.
State police chief Datuk Hasanuddin Hassan said although there was no criminal element involved in the marriage, the case was opened on the grounds that the girl was an underage bride.