The second wife of Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, the man who made headlines by marrying 11-year-old Ayu, has spoken out about her dissatisfaction with her husband's new union
Siti Noor Azilah told The New York Times on Monday, 29 July, that her 41-year-old husband failed to provide financially for her and their four children together, one of whom suffers from Spina Bifida.
"He is so stingy with us, but he has enough money to get married to Ayu and take her on holiday," said Siti, referring to a trip to a retreat that Che Abdul Karim posted about on social media.
Siti said that the father of her children "never takes care of them" because "he doesn't even like children."
"Except one, that Ayu."
Che Abdul Karim's first wife and mother of two of his children, Nuraini Che Nawi, is also against his latest marriage.
In the interview, the first two wives revealed that they had teamed up to offer their husband an ultimatum.
"We have said to him, it is us or that girl. You choose. You cannot have all three of us," explained Siti.
Che Abdul Karim's daughter now has to face the reality that her friend Ayu, who is only three years younger than her, is her new stepmother
"My best friend is my stepmother now," said his daughter Norazila, who said she did not know of Ayu's plans to wed her father.
"It doesn't make any sense."
Despite the public outrage about the union, which has led to discussions about banning child marriage, Kuala Betis mosque imam Said Noordin has defended the 41-year-old rubber tapper
"In Islamic procedure, as long as a bride agrees, her parents agree and the girl has had her menstrual period, then a marriage is OK," he said.
He added that, "Che Karim is a good Muslim, he always comes for prayer, and he is a responsible man," The New York Times reported.
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Statistics based on recent findings show that about 15,000 child marriages have been recorded within the past 10 years: