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M’sian Saves 11yo Girl From Marrying 21yo Man, Offers Her Family Financial Help



Source: The Sun / The Star
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Omg, that’s a close call! 

Recently, a group of police officers and a social activist managed to stop a child marriage from happening in Butterworth, Penang. Kudos to them! 

The Sun Daily reported that the marriage was supposed to be between an 11-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man who are from the Rohingya community. At around 5pm, K Sudhagaran Stanley was informed about the marriage and he told a senior reporter from The Sun Daily. 

If you didn’t know, Sudhagaran is one of the founders of a private school for the Rohingya community in Prai. The man is also the northern region coordinator for the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4). 

So, both of them went to the Seberang Perai Utara police headquarters and lodged a report against the marriage. After that, the police quickly assigned a case officer from the criminal investigations department to take care of the case.

The officer promptly rang up religious authorities to interfere and a patrol car was also sent to the address in Prai. Sudhagaran was also there to help with the investigations. Good work!

Much to their surprise, there was a wedding feast going on when the team arrived at the place. According to the people at the feast and the bride’s father, the wedding was supposed to happen on 7 February 2019.

Source: The Sun

Wedding invitations have also been distributed and a feast was held in order to celebrate the occasion. The father of the bride said that they chose to marry her off because of financial constraints. He was quoted by The Sun as saying,

“It is within our culture and my future son-in-law has promised to be a dutiful husband to my daughter.”

In an effort to justify the marriage, a Rohingya community elder Hussain Ismail shared that there weren’t many women in their community so it’s only logical for their men to opt for child brides.

FYI, the kadi who was supposed to solemnise the marriage is reportedly from the community itself. Nevertheless, he is not certified by the relevant authorities to carry duties as a kadi.

However, Sudhagaran explained to the refugees that the civil laws don’t allow child marriages and the Malaysian government is finding a way to ban child marriages. 

Source: The Star

“It may be a practice and culturally accepted but it is morally wrong in this modern age.”

“And you should respect Malaysian customs as you are living Malaysia where such acts are regarded with contempt,” argued Sudhagaran.

Thus, to ensure that the 11-year-old doesn’t find herself in the same situation again, Sudhagaran offered to help the family with their financial problems.

He also demanded that the young lass should be allowed to continue schooling and the wedding should be postponed until she is 18 years old. Initially, the father didn’t agree with Sudhagran but after three hours of discussion, he finally changed his mind. Thank goodness! 

Source: TVNZ

On the other hand, the police said that the case will be referred to the state religious department. Adding on, Sudhagaran shared that he will work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on this issue, so it doesn’t occur again.

Sudhagaran said,

“If they persist, perhaps UNHCR can revoke their refugee status and we repatriate them to Rakhine (Myanmar).”

On a different matter, Penang’s executive councillor Chong Eng who is in charge of women affairs explained that there should be a policy change with the help of various authorities like the UNHCR. Chong noted that all children have the right to an education. She’s not wrong. 

We are glad that the authorities and Sudhagaran got there in time before the wedding took place. That said, we hope that the relevant authorities will look into this matter and find a permanent solution for it.


Also read: Over 6,000 Child Marriages Recorded in Malaysia in The Past Five Years

Over 900 - WORLD OF BUZZ

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