GEORGE TOWN: The Penang National Registration Department (NRD) today said its staff were hardworking and ethical after an assistant director and five others were charged with various offences recently.
It said there may have been “a few rotten apples” in their midst but the public should not tar the rest of the personnel with the same brush.
State NRD director Nur Zulfa Ibrahim said: “One officer’s (alleged) wrongdoing does not mean we are all bad people. We are cooperating with the police in their investigation.”
On Sept 12, assistant director Mohd Faizul Ariffin, 34, claimed trial to 11 charges involving forgery, trafficking of migrants and violation of NRD regulations.
Nur Zulfa declined to elaborate as she said the case is ongoing.
Earlier, she hosted Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at the NRD’s offices at the Anson Road Federal Building where a mass wedding involving 24 couples was held.
Today – Sept 19, 2019 or 19/9/19 – is considered auspicious for the Chinese community as the Mandarin word for “nine” sounds like “everlasting”.
The 24 pairs comprised 18 local Chinese couples and six Indian couples. The brides included a Thai national and an Indonesian.
Chow assumed his role as “grand marriage registrar” as he witnessed the couples take their oaths and presented them with their marriage certificates.
He said it was a memorable occasion for him and hoped it was something special for the newly-weds, too.
Chow said Penang’s earliest marriage recorded in the state’s marriage ledger was between William Southerland Fraser and Annie Towers on June 25, 1890.
He also said he had delegated the issuance of marriage licences for underaged girls between 16 and 18 to the state NRD director.
“I don’t get to sign the licence now, I have given the responsibility to the director,” he said.
The chief ministers and menteris besar can issue a licence for underaged women to get married. Those below 16 cannot get married and those below 21 must seek permission from their parents.
The state shariah laws allow a Muslim man to marry at the age of 18 and a girl at 16. However, those under age may seek the shariah court’s approval if they want to get married.