Hannah Yeoh Addresses Criticism Against Dr. Wan Azizah In Heartfelt Facebook Post

The Deputy Prime Minister has come under fire from activists over the lack of criminal action against the 41-year-old man who married an 11-year-old girl in June.

Cover image via Roket Kini / Hannah Yeoh Facebook

Ever since the controversial marriage between a 41-year-old man to an 11-year-old girl came to light over a month ago, Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has been receiving criticism from various quarters over the delay in persecuting the man

The now-infamous child marriage case had been condemned by both women's and human rights groups, with activists getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of criminal action against 41-year-old Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Wan Azizah, who is also Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, continued to receive criticism from activists when she said that investigations are still ongoing and that legal action cannot be taken against the man until they have enough evidence to "build a watertight case"

In light of the criticism, Hannah Yeoh has taken to Facebook to address the delay in tackling the child marriage issues as well as to share her experience of working under Dr. Wan Azizah's leadership

Image via Roket Kini

Yeoh, who is deputy to Dr. Wan Azizah in the Women, Community and Family Development Ministry, wrote

"It's been slightly more than a month now since I was appointed to be Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail's deputy. My husband rightly pointed it out to me that it would be a new season of learning for me. Learning not just about issues but the leaders we serve alongside with.

I have read some news reports criticising Kak Wan about the 11-year-old child bride issue and while the matter is now in the hands of the [Attorney General's Chambers], I would like to share with you my one month observation of working directly under her leadership."

Having observed the Deputy Prime Minister in her newly-minted role for a month, Yeoh pointed out that Dr. Wan Azizah's compassion as a doctor "overshadows all the other roles she carries"

Image via The Sun Daily

"You would have probably watched how she rushed off stage to check on YB Hanipa Maidin when he collapsed at the outdoor assembly.

I have also personally seen how she dashed off the Deputy Prime Minister @ Minister's chair to comfort victims of sexual harassment when they started crying sharing about their ordeal," Yeoh wrote.

"I also witnessed her conversation with baby Adam's parents (toddler found lifeless in the fridge) and observed how she covered all angles of assistance needed for the parents to move on.

I also saw her the morning when the late Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng passed away in a car crash. She had to compose herself in a meeting. Professional yet her love for her comrade was evident," she added.

Yeoh also highlighted Dr. Wan Azizah's persistence in committing to a cause or policy, even when her stance is being attacked publicly

"I have seen how she refused to bite back when some politicians attacked her publicly. She always takes the higher ground of giving people the benefit of doubt. When she commits to a cause or policy, I saw how persistent she was in having it signed, sealed and delivered," Yeoh wrote.

"She would remind me the need to look at all angles (something which I sometimes overlook in my pursuit of fast outcome)." 

Admitting that the government is indeed taking longer than expected to wrap up the child bride issue, Yeoh revealed that the delayed action is due to other ministries' reluctance to do their part in handling the situation

Image via Utusan Online

"In these weeks, I can assure you that her utmost priority is to protect that child even at the expense of her own reputation. 

"While I admit criticism on the speed of handling the 11-year-old child bride issue, I would also like you to know that we are dependent on other ministries to do their part," Yeoh wrote, adding that while she would have criticised said ministries openly for their lack of action, correction and re-training would have to be done internally as they are now part of the same administration.

"If I have any criticism at all about Kak Wan, it would have to be her kindness."

In her post, Yeoh also said that sometimes Malaysians forget "how far we have come" since the historic election on 9 May. 

"Here is a woman who will never steal your tax money, an intelligent doctor in her own right to lead and selfless enough to make way for others. Malaysians, don't be quick to forget the years of sacrifices made to have this #MalaysiaBaharu," she wrote. 

"Her family went through a lot, but it was her kindness that has set the stage for reconciliation and healing for Malaysia in the months leading to May 9. Many politicians in the past have hurt Malaysia, but her kindness will keep her away from doing that to you fellow Malaysians." 

Yeoh's post has garnered over 1,500 shares since it was posted earlier today, 7 August. You can read the entire post here:

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