KUALA LUMPUR: Amanah MP Siti Mariah Mahmud today said the view held by some Muslims that underage girls look like adults needs to be corrected.
“Yes, that is a view that needs to be corrected. We do not get married because our bodies are prepared for it or our bodies look like that of an adult.
“What we are saying is 50, 60, 70 years ago, the goals were simple. Girls were raised to become wives and grandmothers. There was no future other than being a mother and grandmother.
“In the current context, girls are raised to be independent, to have their own self-determination. We have to adjust to it,” she said.
She was asked to comment on Shabudin Yahaya (BN-Tasek Gelugor), who said yesterday that some girls matured fast and looked older than their age. He also said that some girls reached puberty at the age of nine or 12, and that the physical state of their bodies was already akin to those who were 18 years old.
Siti Mariah, who is Kota Raja MP, added that Shabudin was probably relating his experience as a shariah court judge.
“I don’t blame him because the law allows it. That is the mindset of Malaysians today. Of Muslims today.”
She said the matter needs to be debated as the Quran and hadiths do not state the marriage age.
According to Siti Mariah, people had to look at the context as previously, women married young because they were raised to get married.
“It does not mean we are giving up our religion. We cannot take a scenario of 50 to 60 years ago into the 21st century.”
She also questioned Shabudin’s reasoning on getting girls married at the age of 16 if they were “wild”.
“Really? Since when do we marry a girl because she is ‘wild’? It is more than that. It (marriage) is about responsibility.
“If we have social problems, we need to be more proactive. Parents should also not shed their responsibility if they cannot control their child.”
Yesterday, Shabudin had said in the Dewan Rakyat that there was nothing wrong with a girl getting married to her rapist.
He had said it would be good for the girl to get married to her rapist as she would otherwise face a bleak future.
“The girl might feel safer rather than being just left like that,” he said.
He added that some 16-year-old girls had “wild lifestyles” and their families found it hard to control them.
“But with the agreement of their wali (guardian), the girl, after marriage, will be looked after well by her husband and the wali,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.