A Malaysian member of parliament, Tasek Gelugor, has stirred a social media storm over his comment that girls as young as nine were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.
Taasek Gelugor, a Malaysian member of parliament has said girls at the age of nine were ready for marriage.
Gelugor said they were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage on Wednesday when the country passed a law on sexual offences against children without criminalising child marriage.
He said this in response to a proposal by an opposition member of parliament to amend the Sexual Offences Against Children bill to include a ban on child marriages.
“They reach puberty at the age of nine or 12. And at that time, their body is already akin to them being 18 years old.
“So physically and spiritually, it is not a barrier for the girl to marry,” Tasek said on Tuesday during a debate on the bill.
He added that a rape victim can marry her rapist, while stating that there was nothing wrong with it.
Under both civil law and Islamic law, girls and boys younger than 18 can be married.
Civil law sets the minimum age of marriage at 18, but those above 16 can be married with the permission of their state’s chief minister.