Vice President, Ng Yeen Seen on Reducing Marriage Age to 14 for Girls.
Sunday, September 23, 2018

Just before the nation could welcome and applaud the DPM YB Wan Azizah’s stance that the government will raise the minimum age of marriage for both sexes to 18; fellow Malaysians usher in the weekend with yet another appalling and shocking piece of news that Sabah Mufti wants marriage age to be reduced to 14 for girls. 

In the same context, the Sabah Minister of Law and Native Affairs was also quoted of saying “ the age of 16 or 18, there is no problem to get married as they have reached puberty.” 

There can be no doubt that the public expression of leaders, who preside over public administration or religious institutions with considerable social reach and religious influence, would validate and perpetuate the age old child marriage practice in our country. 

Such a call could ruin many lives of innocent girls especially those from rural and underprivileged societies whose parents may not even be in a position to know nor able to decide what’s in the best interests of their children. 

In fact, we have seen the contemporary society in most civilisations and modern world, with vastly different social conditions as in yester-years, have largely abandoned the child marriage practice for the most compelling reasons. 

The harm and damage arising  from child marriage practice in the contemporary society are all too obvious and no less documented in the instruments of UN convention and covenants.

The interest and welfare of a child must be the paramount concern of a modern contemporary society. Needless to say, it must necessary be in the wider context of Islamic justice to defend the best interest and welfare of our Muslim children.

The Mufti and other leaders' views manifest tendencies which we can do without in an inclusive moderate society. CENBET has always been a firm believer in moderation as the building block for this country to progress. 

Moving forward, CENBET call upon the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs to engage all stakeholders to conduct a serious debate on the protection of child rights. We further believe His Royal Highness Tuanku, His Excellency TYT whose constitutional role in State Islamic Affairs, could serve as a beacon and provide guidance in this matter with the advice of learned Islamic clerics and scholars.

The nation's social narrative must not be one of moral retrogression as society progresses.

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