A Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) member of Malaysia’s parliament said he opposes banning child marriages because such a move would lead girls to seek out casual sex.
Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad made the assertions as the parliament debated the Child (Amendment) Bill 2015.
“Nowadays, kids under the age of 16 are already having sex and already have open sexual relationships,” he claimed. “If we prevent them from getting married, these urges are still there, so they will be exposed to have sex freely and outside of marriage,”
Teo Nie Ching, member of the Democratic Action Party, disagreed.
“Like in Sabah, in KK (Kota Kinabalu), a 14-year-old married her rapist that was over the age of 40. After that the rapist was convicted in court,” she said. “But what happens to the child? Her husband is sent to jail over a crime, but she married the man who raped her. That’s why we need amendments to protect the rights of the child.”
Khairuddin Aman Razali, a member of the PAS, agreed with Nik Mazian. He said the ban “would only lead to ‘zina’ (adultery).” He believes that child marriage “is less detrimental than adultery.”
Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid, member of the Barisan Nasional (BN) Party, claimed that the members should respect “the sensitivity” for child marriage. From Malaysia Kini:
Questioning Malaysia’s signing the United Nation Human Rights Council’s resolution to end child marriage, he asked if the 1.6 billion Muslim worldwide are so stupid in handling the issue of underage marriage?
“Or, the questions was purposely raised to humiliate us?,” he asked.
“The MPs should be sensitive, there must be a reason we do this,” he hit out at the opponent to the child marriage without naming them.
Parliament received news that almost 1,000 Muslims asked permission to marry minors in 2015.
“According to the records of the Shariah Judiciary Department, the number of applications for child marriages (Muslim) was 827 in 2015. For child marriages registered by the Sarawak Native Customs Council, the number was 294 cases in 2015,” said Rohani Abdul Karim, minister of the Women, Family, and Community Development.
Last October, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) claimed Malaysia had 15,000 brides under the age of 19 in 2014. The country had 16,000 brides aged 15 and under in 2010.
“Four years later, in 2014, Malaysia yet again caused international concern, with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2014 Report recording that more than 15,000 Malaysian children were married off before the age of 19,” stated the group. “These statistics, while already worryingly high, are only cases of child marriages that were reported.”
They added: “Particularly worrying is the tendency to marry off child rape victims to the perpetrator or to other men deemed suitable by the parents.“