KUANTAN: The government is mulling stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) for child marriages, including the hearing of cases by Shariah High Court judges.
At present, applications for such child marriages are heard before shariah lower court judges.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh said Shariah High Court judges were more experienced and trained, and would ensure that stricter conditions were enforced.
She said applications for child marriages should not be taken lightly because such marriages, for whatever reasons, including poverty, could pose more harm than good for underage children.
“They need to go through psychological tests.
“Their parents will be interviewed and there is a need to evaluate the mental and physical condition of the child as those who are too young will not be able to shoulder the responsibility of marriage.
“The SOP aims at protecting the well-being of these children,” the Kuantan MP said after attending a women’s appreciation ceremony yesterday.
Fuziah said the proposal for a strict SOP was tabled at the syarie chief judges’ conference last year.
She acknowledged that it would be a challenge to implement the SOP as legislation because the shariah courts came under the purview of the various state religious councils.