Lawyers to debate motion to abolish child marriages

The Malaysian Bar is to discuss a proposal to ask the government to ban child marriages.

KUALA LUMPUR: A motion to stop the practice of child marriages has been filed for debate at the 74th annual general meeting of the Malaysian Bar today.

The motion was proposed by G Srividhya and Ajeet Kaur and seconded by 82 lawyers.

The motion, sighted by FMT, says the duo, who are co-chairmen of the Bar’s Child Rights Committee, want the government to enact a federal law to abolish such practice.

It wants to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 years for all.

The resolution calls for providing protection to children born out of such unions.

It also wants the government to take immediate proactive steps and measures to advocate and ensure that the public is educated and advised that child marriages are medically, socially and economically harmful to children and society.

Early this year, former attorney-general Tommy Thomas said the Pakatan Harapan government was looking into a proposal to increase the minimum age of marriage for Muslims from 16 to 18.

He said it was also looking into introducing more stringent procedures for shariah court judges to take into account before allowing those below 18 to enter into marriage.

However, a new government, Perikatan Nasional, was formed on March 1 following the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.

Meanwhile, Bar secretary Salim Bashir, in the notice to call the AGM, said the event would begin at 10am at Dewan San Choon in Wisma MCA despite the Covid-19 threat.

“Section 64(1) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 states we must convene the AGM before the first day of April,” he said.

He said security personnel would carry out screening and anyone with a body temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius would not be permitted to enter the premises.

The quorum for the AGM is 500 and if the number is not met at 11am, the meeting shall be adjourned to 11.15am on the same day and at the same venue.