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S'gor passes bill to raise minimum Muslim marriage age to 18

The Selangor State Assembly today approved the Islamic Family Enactment (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 (Amendment 2018) which, among others, regulates the minimum age limit of a Muslim marriage from 16 to 18 years in the state.

Selangor State Assembly speaker Ng Suee Lim announced that the bill was passed after it received the unanimous support of the state legislative assembly members.

Prior to this, Section 8 of the Islamic Family Law Enactment (State of Selangor) 2003 had determined that the minimum age of marriage for Muslim men was not less than 18, and for Muslim women not less than 16.

Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari when presenting the motion said the bill was also amended allowing the marriage of girls under the age of 18, if they did not conflict with the syariah law, which also safeguarded their welfare.

He said the allocation was also in line with the interpretation of the children under the Child Act 2001 (Act 611) which states that a child is a person under 18 years of age.

"Selangor takes a serious view of the 11-year-old girl’s recent marriage to a 41-year-old man in south Thailand recently.

"Following that, the Sultan of Selangor ordered Mais (Selangor Islamic Religious Council) to study the minimum age for Muslim marriage in Selangor by streamlining the application procedure," added the Menteri Besar.

He said the bill meant that the application for marriage for those under the age of 18 was required and they had to obtain permission from the Syariah Court judge in the state.

Amirudin said that the bill also provided for the parent or guardian to act as a petitioner on behalf of the minor and which required the parents or guardian to have an affidavit

"During the hearing, the Syariah Judge will direct the underage couple to undergo counselling sessions conducted by the Welfare Department (JKM)," he said.

On Monday the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah in his royal address at the opening of the second session of the 14th Selangor Legislative Assembly had agreed with Mais and
the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on coordinating the minimum age limit of male and female Muslim marriages from 16 to 18 years.

The Sultan of Selangor said he viewed such cases seriously because of the negative impact on the couple's future as well as its implication on society.

- Bernama