Hannah Yeoh: 15,000 Child Marriages Took Place In Malaysia Within The Past Decade
About 15,000 child marriages have been recorded within the past 10 years, with Sarawak holding the highest number of cases
The statistics were based on recent findings by the Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development between 2007-2017, said Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh on 28 July, according to Sinar Harian.
She stated that 10,000 of the underage marriages were Muslim while 4,999 couples were non-Muslim.
She added that the ministry will be meeting with all of the women excos in the country to raise the minimum age for marriage
She also said that they will be ensuring the welfare of young couples who are in the situation.
"It is not only happening in Kelantan, it is happening in Sarawak where it is a tribal custom," she added.
The controversial marriage between a 41-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl that took place in Kelantan on 18 June left many Malaysians shocked when the man was "allowed" to marry the girl under Islamic laws.
Since then, the ministry has said that they are working on finding a long-term solution towards child marriage laws in Malaysia.
Yeoh revealed that the ministry will be presenting their decision on child marriages at Parliament next week
Investigations into this matter in Malaysia is still ongoing as Yeoh said that the ministry wants to understand why the number of underage marriages are so high.
"Why are there parents allowing their children to marry as minors when caring for their children should be their responsibility?" she stated, according to The Malaysian Insight.
One of Pakatan Harapan's election promises was to "ensure the legal system protects women's rights and dignity" that included "introducing a law that sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage"
Under civil law, the minimum age for marriage is 18 and under state Islamic laws, boys can get married at 18 and girls at 16. However, the Syariah court has the authority to approve underage marriages and override the civil law.