Mujahid: To push for all states to ban child marriage, Putrajaya to seek Malay Rulers’ decree

Opalyn Mok
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa speaks to reporters after Malaysia’s Halal Inclusion Roundtable and Masterclass in Putrajaya November 5, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SEBERANG PERAI, Nov 20 — The federal government will continue to push for child marriage to be banned in all states including reaching out to the Conference of Rulers, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa has said.

He said the federal government has put in place a ban on child marriages, but this is ultimately governed by state laws in the respective states, after it was revealed yesterday that seven states have refused to ban the controversial practice.

“We have spoken to all state Islamic affair councils to ban child marriages, but some states still do not want to implement this through enactments,” he said in a press conference after attending a book launch event here.

He said states like Selangor, Penang and Melaka are prepared to ban child marriages while some states are not prepared to do so.

“It is easier for us when it comes to states that are in line with the federal government, but it is not so with Opposition states, it is more difficult to convince them, we do not know if this is due to politics or other reasons,” he said.

He said one way for the federal government to push through the ban on child marriage is to bring it up with the Conference of Rulers.

“If the Conference of Rulers made a decision on this, all state Islamic affairs councils and Islamic departments will have to adhere their decision,” he said.

He said the government can also try to convince the states to ban child marriages through the National Islamic Affairs Council which meet thrice a year.

He said he could bring it up again in the council next year to convince all states to ban child marriages.

“The meetings have ended this year so I will try again next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, when asked about the calls for a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in public places, Mujahid said this is good as a whole for society.

“People should not drink and drive, we have discussed this in the Cabinet, and we should look at the social perspective rather than a religious perspective,” he said.

He said it will be more for the social wellbeing as drinking alcohol is not good for the society, whether the drinker is Muslim or not.

“I, as a Muslim, know it is prohibited but drinking alcohol does not benefit the society in any way,” he said.

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