Ayu Is Still "Married" To The 41-Year-Old Despite A Week After DPM Called It "Not Valid"
Last Sunday, on 1 July, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who also heads the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, had reportedly called the "marriage" of 11-year-old Ayu to the 41-year-old Kelantanese man "not valid"
Today, 8 July, it has been a week since then, but somehow the man, Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, who already has two wives with whom he has six kids, has managed to hold on to Ayu as his "bride", even going so far as to say that he will not let Ayu go.
"Our marriage is permissible in Islam, even though it is against the law," local media had quoted the 41-year-old as saying, who added that he wants to send the 11-year-old child to a "Pondok" school so that she could be a "well-mannered" Muslim woman.
Since then, a lot has been said but nothing's been done
Kelantan deputy police chief Din Ahmad has said that there was no criminal element in the 11-year-old's marriage to the man 30 years older than her.
While the Kelantan police have opened an investigation paper on the grounds that the girl is an underage bride, no actual action has been taken against the man yet.
A commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), in a Facebook post, wrote that the 11-year-old "wife" is acceptable. However, after facing the public backlash, she later claimed that her statement was misunderstood.
The Kelantan state government has advised Ayu's parents to legalise her marriage to Che Abdul Karim Che Hamid in order to seek a hearing at the Syariah court.
Kelantan's State Women, Family Development, and Welfare committee chairman Mumtaz Md Nawi, who visited the girl, her parents, and her husband on 2 July, reportedly said that "we shouldn't be judgmental" as she found "no element of compulsion" in the child-bride's family who married off their 11-year-old to the man.
Dr Wan Azizah, meanwhile, has said that the government is in the midst of deliberations to make 18 as minimum marriage age
However, there's no word on when a decision on the matter will be finalised despite the fact the issue of raising the minimum age to 18 for both genders is part of the government's manifesto, as the deputy prime minister herself admitted to it on 6 July.
Additionally, Rodziah Ismail, the political secretary of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, had on 3 July said that the government will take full custody of Ayu if the 41-year-old man cannot produce documentary evidence of their marriage
Although, no such thing has happened despite it being 5 days since the government's warning. Instead, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry wants to give the "husband" "time to come forward to provide evidence of the marriage".
Despite the signs that there may have been an element of sexual grooming considering how Che Abdul Karim Che Hamid had a love affair, with he himself saying he had been meeting the child since she was barely eight or nine years old, authorities somehow are playing it safe because the issue touches on Syariah law.
In fact, in a statement released today, 8 July, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah, once again, said that the government is "closely monitoring" the child-bride.
"At the moment, she is under observation while a thorough investigation is still ongoing," the deputy prime minister said, according to a report in Malay Mail.