A member of Malaysian parliament, Tasek Gelugor, has said girls as young as nine were “physically and spiritually” ripe for marriage.
He said this on Wednesday in response to a proposal by an opposition member of parliament to amend the Sexual Offences Against Children bill to include a ban on child marriages
Gelugor said: “They (girls) reach puberty at the age of nine or 12. And at that time, their body is already akin to them being 18 years old.
“So physically and spiritually, it is not a barrier for the girl to marry.
According to him, under civil law and Islamic law, girls and boys younger than 18 can be married.
“Civil law sets the minimum age of marriage at 18, but those above 16 can be married with the permission of their state’s chief minister.
“Under Islamic law, children younger than 16 can get married if the Shariah courts allow it.
“The law only criminalizes ‘grooming’, touching and befriending children as a prelude to sexual abuse, and spells out penalties for making and possessing pornography involving those under 18.
He also said there was ‘nothing wrong’ with a rape victim marrying her rapist as she would then not face a ‘bleak future’.