The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is spearheading efforts to coordinate discussions to increase the minimum age of marriage to 18 years, said political secretary to the minister, Rodziah Ismail.
She said the government was committed to raise the minimum age limit of marriage to 18 years from the existing 16 years, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also women, family and community development minister, on July 2.
“The meeting to discuss the issue will involve various ministries and other agencies. It can be done but we need to fine-tune the Islamic law and the Malaysian civil law,” she said at a press conference at the ministry in Putrajaya today.
The issue of raising the minimum age of marriage has become a widely-debated topic following the report of a 41-year-old local man marrying a 11-year-old Thai girl, which has gone viral on social media.
Under the Islamic Family Law Enactment enforced in all the states, the minimum age for marriage for men is 18 and for women 16 years and if they are underaged, marriage is only permissible if there are court’s permission and parents’ consent.
Rodziah explained the standard operating procedure (SOP) as a guide for judges before approving underaged marriages and this SOP is not under the jurisdiction of the ministry but under the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Department, she said.