PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) have expressed their disappointment over two states that have not adhered to the directive by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed in enforcing the minimum marriage age.
“Kelantan and Terengganu chose to retain child marriage in the states, with the former citing last November that the practice is regarded as a necessity in the state,“ the non governmental organisation (NGO) said in a statement today.
It added that a revelation by the Kelantan Syariah Court that a total of 10 underage marriages were approved between January 2018 and January 2019 was shocking.
They also claimed that many NGOs are disappointed with Kelantan’s rejection of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in November 2018.
They described the rejection as a shameful decision considering Malaysia’s ambition to be a progressive and inclusive country with developed nation status.
It was reported that following Mahathir’s directive on Sept 18 Selangor has amended the State Islamic Family Enactment and Syariah Court Civil Procedure Enactment to raise the marriageable age limit of Muslims from 16 to 18.
SIS also pointed out that the Penang Islamic Religious Department has yet to submit their feedback although the Penang Women, Family, Gender Inclusiveness and Non-Islamic Religion Committee chairperson Chong Eng had instructed the department to proceed with the prime minister’s directive.
SIS insisted that the federal and state governments as well as elected representatives must be responsible in protecting the most vulnerable, which are the children.
“This should be impetus for a more concerted effort at the state government level towards raising the age of marriage to 18 for all children.
“We must keep them safe from harm by inculcating a positive social mindset and ensuring that they have the best possible chance of a bright future by prioritising their education,“ the statement read.