KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts are being made to streamline all legislations in the country to set the minimum marriage age limit at 18 years.
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the measure was being formulated and would be implemented as a long term solution on underage marriage in Malaysia.
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said it would be implemented through the involvement of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on Islamic Affairs and legislations, Home Ministry and state governments including Sabah and Sarawak.
The initiative involved laws such as the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, Islamic Family Enactment and Ordinance in the states, Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, Native Courts Enactment 1992 in Sabah and various laws on Sarawak pribumi communities, she said during the question and answer session at Dewan Rakyat today.
Dr Wan Azizah was replying to a question by Maria Chin Abdullah (PH-Petaling Jaya) who wanted to know the form of laws to protect children and youths from being exploited as well as efforts to ensure they are adhered to by the court in each state.
Dr Wan Azizah said Malaysia has its own customs and culture according the various communities and beliefs while consultations would be held with related experts including paediatricians, cultural and syariah experts in setting the minimum age.
Currently, under the existing laws, legislations such as the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 and the Islamic Family Law Enactment / Ordinance in states provide that the application for underage marriage shall require the permission of a judicial syarie (for Muslims ) and chief minister (for non-Muslims).
The other legislation is related to the Natives Court Enactment 1992 in Sabah as well as the customs of the natives, she added.
Dr Wan Azizah also expressed her appreciation to Selangor and Sarawak state government announcements recently to set the minimum marriage age to 18 years and she hoped it would be followed by other states.
She said based on the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Department, there were 5,362 marriage applications from under 18 years old Muslim couples from 2013 to 2017.
As for non-Muslims under 18 couples, there were 2,367 applications for marriage during the same period, she said. – Bernama