KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 238 underage marriages were recorded at Federal Territory shariah courts in the past seven years, according to a written reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Jamil said underage marriages were not allowed in Islam except with the approval of the shariah courts due to several reasons.
“Applicants need to get approval from both of the parents, and shariah courts will then consider it based on the approval.
“In Islam, staying together is prohibited. Due to that, such marriages are allowed to avoid pre-marital sex,” he said in a written reply.
He was responding to Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas) who had asked for the number of underage marriage applications in shariah courts from 2010 to 2017.
Ngeh also asked for details on the applicants’ economic background, religion, race and location.
Jamil said not all underage marriages were approved by the shariah courts as some of the applicants were unable to financially support their wives. He added that approval was also contingent on the moral reports received from the applicants’ schools.
“The applicants’ understanding of religious or household knowledge was also inadequate or unsatisfactory,” he said.
Jamil said in other states, approval for underage marriages came under the state-level shariah courts.
In Malaysia, the permissible age for marriage is 16 for Muslim girls and 18 for Muslim boys. They are allowed to marry if they obtain permission from their parents and the shariah courts.