Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today spoke on the controversy surrounding the case of a child marriage where a 41-year-old Kelantanese man married an 11-year-old girl
According to a report in Malay Mail, Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said that the marriage is unlawful.
"The marriage is not valid and they must be separated," Dr Wan Azizah added.
The Deputy Prime Minister clarified that the reason the marriage was unlawful as the girl's father was not approved by the court as her custodian.
The fact that the girl being underage, the court also did not approve of her being married off to an older man, Dr Wan Azizah was reported as saying by Malay Mail.
Earlier, the 41-year-old man fled from a meeting with an officer from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry
Dr Wan Azizah said that the Ministry's effort to track the 41-year-old has failed.
She also said that it was time to amend Child Act 2016 and Islamic Family Enactment to raise minimum marriage age for girls to 18
Additionally, Malay Mail also reported Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah as saying that "underage marriages should be viewed in a holistic manner to find out whether elements of paedophilia, child exploitation and child pornography exist."
Her views were also echoed by SUHAKAM, the Government's Human Rights Commission, chairman Razali Ismail, who has warned that any attempt to allow a marriage between a child and an adult could amount to a legalised form of paedophilia.
"There is no justification to child marriage and we stand firm that where religious practices are concerned, they must not supersede the fundamental rights of a child; the best interest of the child must still prevail.
"Suhakam does not think enough has been done to end child marriages in Malaysia and believes zero tolerance of child marriage must be enforced at every root of society," Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail was quoted as saying by FMT.
Meanwhile, Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, the 41-year-old man who married the 11-year-old girl, has defended his action and has threatened to take legal action against those who condemned him