Suhakam warns against ‘legalised’ paedophilia in Malaysia

Razali Ismail urges political leaders and religious authorities to act against child marriage. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government’s human rights commission, or Suhakam, has warned that any attempt to allow a marriage between a child and an adult could amount to a legalised form of paedophilia.

The Commission said it was time state leaders, including shariah court judges legally empowered to allow such marriages, stopped doing so.

“There is no justification to child marriage and we stand firm that where religious practices are concerned, they must not supersede the fundamental rights of a child; the best interest of the child must still prevail,” said Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail.

His response comes as calls grow for a blanket ban on underage marriage, as public outrage continues over the marriage of a 11-year-old girl to a 41-year old man in Kelantan.

Razali said the law’s requirement that a shariah judge or state government head’s consent was needed before such a marriage could take place would only encourage sexual violence against children.

He warned that religious excuses would be given to justify child sexual predators taking children as their spouses.

“Suhakam does not think enough has been done to end child marriages in Malaysia and believes zero tolerance of child marriage must be enforced at every root of society.”

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