KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 8 – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government is in the midst of deliberations on raising the minimum age for marriage for both genders to 18 years and the decision on the matter will be finalised in the very near future.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said several ministries and government agencies had also begun playing their roles in studying the matter.
“This is in line with the Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 for both genders,” she said in a statement tonight. Last Saturday, the report on the marriage of a 41-year-old local man with an 11-year-old Thai girl went viral on social media and triggered an outrage among the public.
Dr Wan Azizah was previously reported as saying that the couple were considered not married as long as no evidence was presented and that the man was being investigated for sexual grooming, which is an offence under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
In the similar development, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was reported as having expressed its disappointment with the government for being ineffective in enforcing the minimum age for marriage in the country. The commission was also against the government’s proposal to develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for child marriage.
In this regard, Dr Wan Azizah said the ministry noted the concerns raised by Suhakam and that the ministry was not in the process of reviewing any of its SOPs to govern child marriage as the SOPs governing the approval and conduct of marriage was not under the purview of the ministry. — Bernama