Child Marriage in Malaysia

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Child marriage is still been practicing in Malaysia. Based on the government statistics of premarital HIV screening for Muslim for preparation to be married, there are around 479 children under the age 15 in 2009. However, this is not the exact statistic because registration of marriage are approved and responsible under the authority of the state religious department for muslim and the National Registration Department for non-muslim. But yet, this data is the next best thing we have because we still do not have a specific studies on child marriage yet in our country.

Recently, there are two cases that has brought to the mass media attention and shaking the whole nation regarding the two Kelantanese girl age 10 who are married to a 40 year old men and an 11 year old girl who are married to a 41 year old.

Some activist voice out their opinion regarding this heinous act but according to our two sets of law, Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and the Islamic Family Laws, muslim can get married at the minimum age of 16 years old while boys at the age of 18 year old but younger children can be married at a younger age provided the concent by the Syariah Judge. Non-muslim on the other hand could legally be married at the age of 18 year old or younger girls at the age of 16 could be married with the authorization of the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister at their respective state.

Child marriages are often arranged marriages that has the manifest function like other marriage but the latent function is to built alliances between two families in exchange not just their children but mostly for wealth and favors. Love and personal compatibilities is not the foundation of these marriages as children is still young to understand it. For example, in India, child marriage is illegal but still in has been practice in remote rural areas where the tradition is strong and enforcement is hard to maintain.

Factors that contribute to child marriage are like the raise...
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