Reports of marriage between a 11-year old girl and a man 30 years her senior sparked an uproar in Malaysia on Saturday, reigniting debate on the subject of underage marriage in the Muslim majority country, Reuters reports.
The Malaysian government confirmed the incident in a statement on Saturday, but added there were no records in the courts or the regional religious office that permitted this marriage.
If there was no written permission from the sharia court then the marriage would be unlawful, it said.
“The ministry looks seriously upon underage marriage... The ministry wants to discuss and cooperate with religious councils to examine and tighten laws so it can eradicate the issue of underage marriage,” said a statement from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
A task force has been formed comprising state religious councils, government agencies and activists to cooperate and examine the issue, the ministry added.
The girl, believed to be a citizen of Thailand, married the 41-year-old man who already has two wives and six children aged between five and 18, according to local media reports.
The young bride said they were married on June 18 and she was accompanied by her parents.
"Before Hari Raya, my parents asked me about Abe's intention to marry me. I accepted because I love him."
"I know I am still young and not in school, but I have known Abe for a long time, one of Abe's children is also my friend."
"I love Abe because he is a nice man," she said.
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