Religious Affairs Minister Idris Ahmad today said that the current government has no plans to raise the federal minimum age of marriage for muslim women from 16 to 18.
This is due to a majority of states religious authorities rejecting the move – as those laws are under the purview of individual states – during several consultations the government conducted earlier this year, reported Malay Mail.
“Based on the response, most states in principle agreed to retain the current legal marrying age as provided under the Islamic Family Law in each respective state,” said Idris.
Despite this decision, the minister says that current measures are in place to protect the interest of minors, especially since a new marriage application SOP was implemented in September 2018.
“The Syariah Judiciary Department has taken steps to ensure that those who apply for underage marriage will go through a strict process of evaluation to ensure that the interest of all parties involved is taken care of.”
As a result of this, Idris stated that incidences of underage marriage has dropped from 2,885 to 2,098 compared to the previous three-year period, reported The Vibes.
Under most states’ Islamic Family Law, the minimum age of marriage is 18 for Muslim men, and 16 for Muslim women. For non-Muslims, the civil law sets it at 18 years of age.
However, Selangor amended it’s laws in September 2018 to standardise the inconsistency, reported theSundaily, remaining to date the only state to do so.
Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir had also subsequently issued a directive in October of that year to all states to raise the minimum age of marriage, according to Malaysiakini.