KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Youths aspiring to be future diplomats should not be hasty when coming up with solutions to the world’s problems, said Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh today, using an example from Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) 14th general election (GE14) manifesto.
Speaking at the EU-Asean Youth Diplomats Programme at Universiti Malaya here today, Yeoh said that PH’s pledge to ban child marriage in the run-up to the 2018 election had led to high expectations that the goal would immediately be realised when the coalition won GE14.
“But when we went into our ministry, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and myself were presented with a lot of facts by the experts and we realised that, oh my goodness, there are actually four different kinds of child marriages that we were dealing with.
“And all of them have different laws, different players that you have to engage,” said the former deputy minister of women, family and community development.
The four kinds of child marriage Yeoh referred to were Muslims marriages under the Shariah courts, non-Muslim marriages, traditional or adat marriages involving the Orang Asli in the peninsula, as well as adat marriages involving indigenous communities in Sabah and Sarawak.
Dr Wan Azizah was the minister of women, family and community development during Yeoh’s time in the ministry.
In January 2020, Dr Wan Azizah launched a five-year National Strategy Plan to end child marriage that involved agencies from the federal government as well as the state government, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.
Yeoh said that the long road to the eradication of child marriage should be a lesson to young hopefuls to not “rush into a solution without understanding the complexity of the matter”.
On a separate issue, Yeoh announced that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is currently heading a special committee that will be handling the restructuring of how the government oversees technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
“We are waiting for there to be further discussion and conclusion before I comment further. When we have the findings and proposed solutions we will announce it to the press, it is a work in progress at the moment,” she said.
She had previously said that TVET needed to be streamlined as the programmes involved were run under multiple ministries, resulting in inefficiencies and confusion to industry players.