Some have happy endings while others do not

PETALING JAYA - The issue of child marriages gripped the nation when in May a 13-year-old girl in Kota Kinabalu hurriedly married a 40-year-old restaurant manager after he had reportedly raped her.

The suspect, Riduan Masmud, was charged with raping the schoolgirl in a car at the KionĀ­som waterfall in Inanam on Feb 18.

Last month, the girl's aunt told the Sessions Court that the man had posed as a 24-year-old bachelor on Facebook to lure her niece.

Earlier, in November 2012, 12-year-old Nur Fazira Saad married a 19-year-old fruit picker Mohd Fahmi Alias in Kulim.

Her father Saad Mustafa said he had thought hard before marrying off his daughter and decided that it was better to avoid impropriety.

As she was underaged, the couple's akad nikah (marriage solemnisation) ceremony was held only after Nur Fazira received permission from the Kulim Syariah Court to marry.

In an interview with The Star in May, Mohd Fahmi said being married meant that both of them had to take on bigger responsibilities.

Although Nur Fazira had stopped going to school after her UPSR in 2011, Mohd Fahmi said he would not stop her from her studies.

Even earlier, in 2010, an 11-year-old girl from Kelantan was found half-conscious outside a mosque in Kepong after being abandoned by her 41-year-old "husband".

The girl's mother, Siti Sarnan Mat Ail, 42, claimed that the man had used black magic to force her into marriage. She said her daughter Siti Nur Zubaidah ended up being "married" to the religious sect leader after he abducted her.

A Malay daily reported that the leader had married off his own 10-year-old daughter to a middle-aged man.

In July last year, a video of a wedding between a 16-year-old groom and a 14-year-old bride was posted on YouTube, garnering over a million views.

Many of the comments posted by viewers applauded the teen groom for his "noble" decision not to "dishonour" his family. Both teens stayed in school after their marriage.