Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian Member of Parliament, who is also a former Shariah court judge, is likely to face criticism for saying that girls as young as nine years old are ready for marriage. He also maintained that there was nothing wrong about a rape victim marrying her attacker.
MP Shabudin Yahaya, while speaking in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, said that nine-year-old girls are “physically and spiritually” ready to be married off, according to a report in Daily Mail.
In justification of his statement, he said, “When we discuss 12 and 15 year olds, we don’t see their physical bodies because some children aged 12 or 15, their bodies are like 18-year-old women.”
He went on to claim that a rape victim marrying her attacker could be a remedy to the crime and several social problems. While Yahaya agreed that rape was a crime, his stance on the rapist and the victim being “given a second chance to turn a new leaf in life” did not go down well with other Malaysian lawmakers.
Parliament, which was in session over the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017, debated that child marriage should be considered as an offence.
Another MP, Teo Nie Ching, told Parliament about two rape cases where the victims married their rapists and the marriage was a failure. In one of the cases, the 35-year-old man, who married a 14-year-old with a disability after allegedly raping her, reportedly raped his 11-year-old sister-in-law and made his wife film the act.
However, Yahaya stood by what he said and said that rapists did not necessarily remain bad. “Perhaps through marriage they can lead a healthier, better life – and the person who was raped does not necessarily have a bleak future”, he said.
The motion to amend the bill to include child marriages as an offence was defeated. Several MPs agreed that despite the law allowing child marriage, it was necessary to correct the notion that children should be married off because they have the body of an adult.