Child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation in Malaysia

Proposer:

CSO Platform For Reform – Child Cluster

Affiliations:

Child Rights Coalition Malaysia (CRCM)

Policy Code:

2e Child

Problem Statement / Issue:

1. The tri-legal systems of the Civil, Syariah and Native Courts are not cohesive.
2. There is a lack of disaggregated, centralised, systematic data on child marriage and FGM
cases.
3. Children who experience pre-marital sex or pregnancies out of wedlock often enter into
child marriages to preserve their family’s dignity, avoid stigmatization, and/or perpetrators
using marriage to legitimise their act and circumvent prosecution.
4. For girls between age 16-18 under Civil law, and girls below age 16 under Syariah law, can
marry with the authorization of the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar. In Sabah and Sarawak
there is no minimum age under native law. Children of migrant labourers from Indonesia
may be married according to the cultural laws of their native country.
5. The Syariah law reforms and its application are not standardized and consistent throughout
Malaysia.
6. The National Fatwa Council in Malaysia mandates female circumcision for Muslim girls and
women.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

Reform the laws governing the protection and safety of children and confidential reporting
mechanisms with judicial, enforcement, medical authorities including SCAN and OSCC staff, first
responders, child protectors, social workers, teachers, school staff, NGOs, religious authorities,
families, children from all communities. Harmful practices cannot be justified by religion.

Proposal of Solution and Call to Action:

1. Raise and standardise the age of sexual consent and marriage to 18 for all children.
2. Endorse a law* that addresses child marriages, penalises perpetrators including facilitators
of child marriages.
3. Synergise national laws to stop and address child marriages.
4. Strengthen provisions of laws relating to sexual offences against children to ensure marriage
is not a defence to the stated offences.
5. Include prohibition and response of FGM in national laws.
6. Accept and implement UN Resolution 71/175.
7. Establish interagency disaggregated data collection mechanism on child marriage and FGM
cases.
8. Expand the present National Strategy Plan to Handle the Causes of Child Marriage to include
comprehensive prevention and response programmes.
9. Avail non-discriminatory access to national child protection systems and services to all
children.
10. Incentivise parents/caregivers through financial aid or employment to promote girls to stay
in school and complete their tertiary education.
11. Institutionalise dialogues and regular awareness raising and capacity building on the
negative impact of child marriage and FGM and comprehensive sexuality education and
emphathetic support available to vulnerable minors.

Translation

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