Press Statement
Wan Azizah’s claim that 15 year old child bride ‘consented’ to marriage is irresponsible & unacceptable
20 September 2018

We refer to the statement yesterday by DPM and Women’s Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that the 15 year old child bride in the second case in Kelantan had ‘consented’ to the marriage.

This statement from the Women’s Minister is unacceptable and breathtakingly irresponsible.

Is the Minister seriously suggesting that a 15 year old child is capable of consenting to marriage with a 44 year old man?

No child can consent to a marriage! This is a fundamental principle.

The criminal law regards consensual sex with any girl below 16 as rape, precisely because a child is not capable of consent. This basic point seems to have been regrettably ignored or overlooked by the Women’s Minister.

Her statement suggests that she has little understanding of the psychology or capacities of a child. She also appears to have failed to take into account the pressures, persuasion or coercion the child may have been subjected to by the perpetrator and other persons over the period of several months prior to the marriage.

Most disturbingly, the DPM seems to draw slapdash conclusions from a one day ‘investigation’ by some random officials from the Women’s Ministry.

The 15 year old victim urgently needs care, counselling and support. A public statement from the Minister whitewashing the ‘marriage’ does not help the child at all.

Now that the DPM claims the child had consented, the question remains as to what happens next. Will there be any further action? Or will the child be left to rot away in this ‘marriage’, her future bleak and devastated?

And will this latest paedophile ‘husband’ too be let off scot free to prey on other children, as was the case with pervert who ‘married’ the 11 year old in Gua Musang?

It is painfully obvious that the DPM is once again trying to wash her hands of another ‘messy’ child bride case.

The continued failure to take action against perverted sex predators who use marriage as a licence to have sex with children is turning Malaysia into a haven for paedophiles.

We urge the Women’s Ministry to take immediate steps to protect and counsel the child; and we further call upon the IGP to order a criminal investigation into sexual grooming against the 44 year old perpetrator.

Released by:
Latheefa Koya
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty