‘They hamper minors from developing potential’
WHILE marriages to minors are legal, it is not encouraged by the government as it will hamper the ability of children to develop their potential.
In a statement yesterday, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said although such marriages were allowed under the law, they would pose challenges to the children, physically or mentally.
The ministry was commenting on a case involving a 12-year-old girl, who married the man convicted of raping her in Sabah.
“The ministry’s stand is that underage marriages are not encouraged because they (minors) should be given the opportunity to develop their potential.
“In this case, underage marriages will lead to them feeling pressured in terms of physical and mental, including the health, education and financial aspects of a child,” read the statement.
In the Sabah case, the rapist, 44, is serving a 12-year jail term after being convicted of raping her in 2015.
Although children at 16 were allowed to get married, the ministry stressed that marrying the rape victim would not protect the rapist from the law.
“The sentence meted to the rapist in this case goes to show that the legal system is strong in protecting victims of crime, especially children.”
Nevertheless, the ministry said it respected the decision of the family of the victim, now 16, to be married under existing laws.