Malaysia’s hypocrisy over child abuse

Hypocrisy features in Malaysian lives. We ban Beyonce, but permit child marriages. We whip girls for drinking beer, but have shares in breweries. Women accused of illicit sex are whipped, whilst the men get off because they have a right to satisfy their sexual needs. Sex with a minor is statutory rape for non-Muslims, but not for Muslims.

By Mariam Mokhtar (Malaysia Chronicle)

Malaysians have long acknowledged that they are subject to selective justice; poor vs. rich, muslims vs non-muslims, women vs men and now it seems children vs adults.

The marriage of a 14-year old girl on 7 December sparked public outrage. To get around this, Muslim ministers cherry-pick from syariah law. It is this false adherence to Islamic principles and the “holier than thou” attitude that exposes their blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime minister’s department who is in charge of legal affairs, finally revealed that the government had no intention of reviewing laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.

He said, “If the religion allows it, then we can’t legislate against it. Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation”.

The Islamic Development Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) director-general, Wan Mohammad Sheikh Abdul Aziz condoned the practice of underage marriages as “a reasonable move”.

Minister for Islamic Affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom, was guest-of-honour at the mass wedding ceremony involving the 14-year-old. He sanctioned the underage marriage as being legal under syariah law. Couples who took part were alleged to have received RM1000 each.

Curiously, Jamil appears to have done a U-turn. Last March, when there was a furore over the marriage of two children (a 10 and 11-year-old) to men in their forties, Jamil reportedly said, “it was more to satisfy lust”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Sharizat Abdul Jalil firmly said, “the government is not for child marriages.”

Would the Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak like to clarify this confusion arising from the conflicting views of his ministers?

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