Selangor ruler raises minimum marriage age for Muslims to 18

SHAH ALAM: Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today decreed that the marriageable age for Muslim males and females in the state be raised from 16 to 18 years.

He said the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) would review the relevant laws and make the amendments where needed.

The ruler said he viewed seriously the cases of Muslim children marrying at a young age, especially among girls.

“This is because I am worried about the future harmful risks these young couples will face and the effect on the community,” he said in opening the second meeting of the first session of the state assembly.

Underage marriages have been widely debated in the media since June after a 41-year-old Kelantan man took an 11-year-old girl as his bride.

In July, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government would amend the laws to raise the age that girls could marry from 16 to 18 years.

Sultan Sharafuddin also said several legal provisions should be amended to improve the procedure and process for the Shariah Court to permit underage marriages.

“Conditions must be put in place to require parents and the relevant people to obtain records of the mental, physical, fertility, moral and sociology aspects, as well as a voluntary declaration by the applicant to ensure the marriage will not result in distress,” he said.

He proposed the amendment of several provisions in the Muslim Family Law Enactment (Selangor) and Shariah Court Civil Procedure Enactment (Selangor) 2003.

The ruler also voiced hope that the amendments could be made in the current meeting of the state assembly.