SHAH ALAM: The Selangor State Assembly has passed amendments to several laws to raise the permissible age for Muslims to marry in Selangor to 18.
This follows amendments to the Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 and the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 in regards to underage marriage.
The amendments were tabled, debated and passed on Wednesday (Sept 5) evening.
The permissible age for Muslim females and males to marry in Selangor has been raised to 18, from 16 for girls and 18 for boys previously.
However, the amended law allows for Muslims who are underage to marry if they fulfil certain conditions, including having the parent or guardian file an application to the Syariah Court for permission to marry.
“The notice of application at the Syariah Court must be accompanied with a supporting affidavit by the mother, father or guardian of the said boy or girl under the age of 18,” said Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari when tabling the amendments.
In addition to this, he added, a supporting affidavit from the bride to the groom or the groom to the bride must also be attached to the application.
The affidavit must outline the reasons for the marriage, the health condition of the couple, the ability to provide maintenance as well as a clarification if they had ever been detained for involvement in any criminal activity.
Once the Syariah Court has received the application, the court has to issue an order to obtain relevant documents such as health reports, socio-economic reports as well as criminal records if any from the relevant government agencies.
“In order to maintain transparency of the application (for permission to marry), the court must carry out an investigation by summoning everyone involved such as parents, guardians, as well as the future bride and groom who are below 18 for an interview,” said Amirudin.
This is to ensure the information from the reports submitted is correct as well as for the Syariah Court to determine if the couple is eligible for marriage.
Earlier, when tabling the amendments, Amirudin said in-depth discussions were held between relevant agencies such as Selangor Syariah Judiciary Department (Jakess), Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais), Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), the Attorney General’s Chambers, the police, state health and education departments, the Selangor Syariah Prosecution Department, the Selangor Mufti’s Office, academics and non-governmental organisations pertaining to the issue in July.
He said that underage marriage is necessitated under Syarak Laws and that the move to ban such marriages was not in line with these laws.
But it was also found that there was indeed a need to amend the minimum age limit for females from 16 to 18 to be in line with the Child Act 2001.
The amendments, which were passed unanimously, were made after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah gave his consent to standardise the minimum age limit for marriage for both Muslim men and women in the state to 18 years.
This follows the recent furore over the marriage of a 41-year-old Kelantanese man to an 11-year-old girl.
“I view such cases seriously because of the negative impact on the couple’s future as well as its implication on society,” Sultan Sharafuddin had said in his Royal Address at the opening of the second session of the 14th Selangor Legislative Assembly meeting on Monday (Sept 3).
Selangor is the first state in Malaysia to amend the age from 16 to 18 for Muslims who want to marry.