National Report: Malaysia – Child Marriage: Its Relationship with Religion, Culture and Patriarchy

National Report – Child Marriage Single Page_001

The practice of child marriage in Malaysia enjoys a status of legality with registration of marriages involving those below 18 sanctioned explicitly and given exceptions under Islamic and civil laws. According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, there were 152,835 persons aged 15-19 in a marriage, and unlike in some countries where the practice is of much more prominence, poverty and parents’ inability to financially provide for their daughters seems to not be the main cause, due to the country’s upper-middle income level. The main driver for child marriage in Malaysia is sexual impropriety and the shame it carries, a conservative culture and outlook that tends to ignore modern interpretations of the Holy Quran. Unfortunately, advocacies to call for a legal ban on child marriage is met with a lot of resistance, because the practice is seen as a solution for sexual improprieties among teenagers.


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Valentina Lai, Shareena Mohd Sheriff, Syarifatul Adibah Mohammad Jodi and Andi Suraidah Bandy