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Thursday, July 20, 2017

'Increase minimum marriageable age to 18 for girls'



Pakatan Harapan women's wing wants the minimum marriageable age for girls to be raised to 18, bringing it on par with the current minimum age for boys.
Amending the legislation that currently allows girls to marry at 16 would put an end to child marriages, said DAP Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching.
“Child marriage is not a fringe issue in Malaysia. There are nearly 9,000 such cases from 2010 to 2015 - 6,268 Muslims and 2,775 non-Muslims.
“Children below the age of 18 are simply not emotionally, mentally and economically ready to shoulder the responsibility of marriage and parenthood,” Teo said in a statement on behalf of Harapan women's wing at the DAP headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.
She pointed out that the Dewan Rakyat had passed the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 (early this year), but while it protects children below 18 from sexual physical contact, it stops short of outlawing child marriage.
Teo said that such marriages often deprived girls of education, social mobility, and economic opportunity, besides exposing them to higher risks of domestic and sexual abuse.
“Worse, Malaysia has an extremely low conviction rate for child sexual abuse cases,” she said.
PKR Wanita chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin stressed that the minimum marriageable age for girls and boys had to be the same.
“Girls today are at the same level as boys, thus the marriage minimum age should be the same. This will bring improvement to the social system,” she said.
In December last year, Malaysia ratified the UN’s second resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage, which called for member states to put an end to such marriages.
Women politicians from DAP, PKR and Amanah were present at the press conference today.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) failed to send a representative but the party had agreed to the joint statement.
National Women’s Agenda for GE14
Also present was DAP Wanita chief and Padang Lalang assemblyperson Chong Eng, who announced what plans Harapan women's wing had for the next election.
“We will work towards having more women candidates in GE14.
“We will also be coming up with an Agenda Wanita Malaysia (Malaysian women’s agenda) like we (Pakatan Rakyat) did for GE13 ... that would include (points on) women in the workplace, health and other agenda,” she said.
Chong (photo) admitted it was difficult to fulfil the desired 30 percent female representation in politics, but said they would try their best.
“Our goal is to have more women candidates (for this election) than in GE13,” she said.
The opposition fielded 77 women candidates in GE13, 40 of whom were eventually elected.
The election saw a total of 168 women candidates run for office, a record high.
Amanah Wanita chief Siti Mariah Mahmud said her party was “still discussing” details on seat allocation for women candidates, citing a lack of experience as GE14 would be the PAS-splinter party’s first election.
“But definitely, there will be women candidates,” she said.
'Despacito' too vulgar for public sphere
Meanwhile, Siti Mariah clarified her party’s stance on the popular Spanish-language song Despacito.

“We did not call for a ban, we said it should be pantau (monitored).
“The reason is the wording ... I was appalled when I saw a woman in a hijab(headscarf) strumming to the song on TV3,” said the Kota Rajah MP.
While popular, Despacito has raised eyebrows over its sexually-charged lyrics.
She added that the song, sung by Puerto Ricans Luis Fonzi and Daddy Yankee and featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber in its remix, was inappropriate for public broadcast.
“Children are humming to it without knowing the meaning.
“Airing it over television and radio is (putting it in) the public sphere,” she said. -Mkini

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