PETALING JAYA: MCA has urged the government to amend the Federal Constitution to criminalise child marriage for all, regardless of race and religion.
MCA National Youth chairman Nicole Wong Siaw Ting said the move is important to show the government’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of minors.
“The frequent incidences of child marriage, and the possibility of even more unreported cases of such nature, have resulted in Malaysia being perceived as a backward nation, insofar as protection of children and human rights are concerned,“ she said in a statement today.
She also urged the Women, Family and Social Development ministry to take immediate measures to protect an 11-year-old, whose marriage was foiled in Butterworth recently, while provide her with counselling and medical care.
“We also call on the Inspector-General of Police to immediately initiate criminal investigations on the purported groom-to-be and the family of the underage girl,” she said.
She also questioned Women, Family and Community Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and deputy minister Hannah Yeoh in providing protection for children.
“When the issue of child marriage was raised and debated in the society middle last year, Dr Wan Azizah avoided and simplified it, resulting in the matter being side-lined and unresolved. Child marriage or attempts at it continue to take place, this time in Butterworth.
“Why is Putrajaya still sleeping when certain states have already enacted laws prohibiting child marriages until one has reached the minimum age of 18 years?
“If Dr Wan Azizah continues to play ostrich, child marriage problems will never cease. Whether or not to resolve the issue, it all depends on the government’s will.”