MALACCA: The Malacca Islamic Religious Council has agreed to allow male Muslims below 18 and female Muslims below 16 in the state to wed. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam, the council’s chairman, said the decision was taken to reduce the number of cases involving babies born out of wedlock and increasing cases of adultery.
He said the leeway would only be given upon gaining the permission of the Syariah Court as well as the families of the teenagers.[could anyone seriously believe that this will be denied? Ed.]
The decision was taken based on the resolutions submitted by delegates at a conference on combating social ills recently. “The state government is of the view that it is better for parents to give permission for their teen children to marry at a young age.
“It is a practical move in preventing cases of unwed teenage mothers and other social problems,” he said after launching the Ramadan Comprehension Seminar here yesterday, where he also handed zakat collectors letters of appointment and launched the Malacca State Mosque book.
Ali, said marriages involving young girls who were already pregnant would also be allowed but the fine would be determined by the Syariah Court.
In the state alone, 174 Muslim women gave birth outside wedlock in the first six months of the year, compared with 391 cases for the same period last year. All the women this year were students aged below 20.
The normal minimum marriage age in Malaysia is 18. But Muslims may marry younger if the local Syariah (Sharia) court permits it – which they frequently do. Only last month, two girls aged 10 and 11 were wed in the conservative northern state of Kelantan.
Study after study shows that girls subjected to sexual activity at such early ages suffer not only damage to their still-developing reproductive systems, but also lasting psychological trauma.
So why is supposedly-progressive Malaysia still making an exception for Muslims?