KOTA BHARU (BERNAMA) - The Malaysian government should focus more on addressing LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender - issues instead of on the recent controversy where an 11-year-old girl was wedded to a 41-year-old man, said a Kelantan state official on Wednesday (July 4).
Deputy Menteri Besar of Kelantan Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the issues of LGBT and illicit sex were greater compared with the child bride case, which he described as isolated.
"This issue (child marriage) is not wrong in terms of religion (Islam)... it should not be sensationalised and made a national issue and this case is an isolated case," said Datuk Mohd Amar.
"Not everyone marries an 11-year-old child but the LGBT issue, illicit sex and having children out of wedlock are rampant everywhere, so much so that these have become a phenomenon in the country. This should be a concern to the government and society," he said.
His comments came after Kelantan police said on Wednesday they have opened an investigation paper on the controversial marriage between the underage Thai girl and the Malaysian man that took place on June 18 in southern Thailand, close to the border with Malaysia.
The results of that investigation will be submitted to the public prosecutor for further action, said state police chief Hasanuddin Hassan.
Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry if they obtain the permission of a religious court.
The man, who lives in Kelantan, already has two wives, with the girl being his third spouse. Muslim men in Malaysia are allowed to have up to four wives.
Mr Mohd Amar said while the state government was concerned about the case, it did not wish to overreact.
"First, the marriage took place outside Kelantan, that is the issue we have to understand first... it did not happen in Kelantan. Only the state government handed over the matter to Jaheaik (Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department) to manage the case because it is under its jurisdiction. So we will see what action (should be taken against the couple if they commit a crime). If there are any suggestions, Jaheaik will forward them to the state government," he said.