Sabah to set marriage age at 18, says Shafie

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal says certain requirements will have to be fulfilled for those who want to get married although they are under the age of 18. (File pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government will go along with the federal government’s proposal to increase the marriage age to 18, said Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

Confirming this today, Shafie said the state would only allow those under 18 to marry if they receive the consent from the courts.

“There are some people who would want to marry young. Maybe they are 16 and want to get married because of certain reasons.

“We have an ordinance that governs this, and there are requirements that need to be fulfilled. They have to go to court, including the shariah court.

“But we will go along with the proposal to increase the marriage age to 18,” he said.

In Sabah, the minimum age for marriage for women is 16 while that for men is set at 18.

Last month, Sabah mufti Bungsu @ Aziz Jaafar was criticised over his call to lower the legal age of marriage for Muslims to 14 for girls and 16 for boys.

Shafie was also criticised after he was seen as endorsing Bungsu’s controversial stand when he said 18 was a bit “lanjut” (late) for some girls to be married.

Commenting on the call made by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to limit the chief minister’s term to just two terms, Shafie said he did not mind the move.

“We will check whether we need to amend the state constitution to allow this. As you know, it is not embedded in our enactment anywhere.

“This is part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto but remember that Warisan is not part of PH. We are working with PH. Warisan is on its own. But we are open to the suggestion,” he said.