GUA MUSANG (BERNAMA) - The parents of an 11-year-old girl who was married to a 41-year-old man in Sungai Golok, in Kelantan state, on June 18 has blessed the marriage, even though the girl is his third wife.
Her father, Mat Rashid Rimadsa, 49, a Thai citizen who lives in Kampung Panggong Lalat here, said he knew the man - a Malaysian - who lives in Kampung Lalang well and often sold scrap rubber to him.
Mat Rashid told reporters on Saturday (June 30) that the man promised him he would register the marriage with the Islamic Affairs Department in Kelantan when his daughter, Masaryu Mat Rashid, turns 16.
"At the moment, Masaryu is staying with me," he said.
Mat Rashid and his family - who are all Thai citizens and live in Gua Musang - work as rubber tappers.
He said that one week before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the man asked his permission to marry the girl.
"I told him that my daughter was not old enough to be a wife as she was only 11 years old, but the man persisted and promised to nikah gantung it, so I agreed," he said.
Nikah gantung refers to a marriage where the couple do not live together for a period of time fixed by both the man and woman.
Mat Rashid said he went with his wife Aminah Hitam, 41, and their daughter as well as the man to Sungai Golok, in Thailand, where they were married.
He said that after the wedding in the afternoon, they returned to Gua Musang. The man agreed to wait for five years before registering the marriage in Malaysia.
"The man was willing to marry my daughter because he wanted to help me as I am poor and depend on the income I get tapping rubber," he said.
Meanwhile, Masaryu said she loved the man and was happy to marry him, even though he was already married to two other women.
She said she had a good relationship with both his wives and often went out with them.
"I accept whatever decision my parents and husband have made, to wait five years before we can live together because I am only 11 years old," she said, adding that she was not bothered what others said because she was happy with her husband.
News of the marriage went viral on the social media after it was shared by the man's second wife, who posted photos showing the marriage ceremony between the man and the 11-year-old girl.
The Kelantan Islamic Affairs Department (Jaheaik) in Kota Bharu has not received any reports or complaints about the marriage.
But Jaheaik director Datuk Che Mohd Rahim Jusoh said the department would investigate the matter because even if a marriage is conducted in another country, Malaysians have to get the permission of the Syariah Court and the girl's parents if she is underaged.
The law allows only a woman who is 18 years old and above to marry without requiring the consent of the Syariah Court, he said when contacted on Saturday.
Che Mohd Rahim said if this consent was obtained, a girl who is younger than 18 years of age can marry as Islamic laws permit it.