Child marriages not prohibited in Malaysia's amended Act

Child marriages not prohibited in Malaysia's amended Act
The marriage of Mr Mohammad Fahmi Alias, 19, and Ms Nor Fazira Saad, 12, in November 2012 led to rights groups in Malaysia calling for a ban on child marriages. The couple now live with Mr Fahmi’s family in Kulim, Kedah.
PHOTO: China Press

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is concerned about the lack of any specific provision prohibiting child marriages in the amendments to the Child Act 2001.

The commission urged the Government to amend all domestic laws to raise the legal age of marriage for all to 18 years.

"This is to be in compliance with the Child Act which defines children as those below the age of 18," Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said in a statement yesterday.

Amendments to the Act was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on April 6 and will be tabled at the Dewan Negara for approval.

Suhakam also noted that the amended Act omitted any specific provisions against child pornography.

At present, there are no specific penal laws in Malaysia to cover holistically the issue of child pornography.

Hasmy urged the Government to consider introducing specific provisions under the Child Act or the Penal Code, to address the issue of child pornography.

This was in light of Malaysia's obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography 2000.

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