The police have made it clear that an alleged rapist's reported wish to marry his pregnant 13-year-old victim will not save him from prison if he is convicted.
Contacted by Malaysiakini, Kuching district police chief Abang Ahmad Abang Julai could not confirm if the 20-year-old suspect had stated his desire to marry the girl or if the two were in a relationship.
"But regardless, even if he wants to marry her, it doesn't mean he can escape punishment. The girl is underaged so it is still considered rape," Abang Ahmad said.
According to a report in the New Sarawak Tribune, the man was arrested by the police in Kuching yesterday.
Upon being questioned, the man reportedly told police that he would marry the victim.
The news article stated that prior to the arrest, a police report was lodged after the victim's mother took the girl to a clinic after she complained of abdominal pain.
A medical check-up revealed that the girl was several months pregnant.
The report did not state whether the two were in a relationship or if there was any element of consent.
Under the law, intercourse with a girl below the age of consent - which is 16 in Malaysia - is classified as statutory rape, regardless of consent.
The incident comes a week after an uproar over Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya's statement in Parliament that a rapist marrying his victim could be a remedy for social ills.
Shabudin said this while rejecting a proposal by Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching in Parliament for a ban on child marriages.
He had said that sexual relations with girls under 16 were considered rape under the law.
The MP also pointed out that there was no law preventing those who had been raped from marrying their rapists.
The Umno MP had also said that girls under 16 could marry under Islamic law, as long as they were granted leave by the syariah court.- Mkini