Poverty drives Malaysian father to marry off underage daughter to 44-year-old man

KOTA BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A man from Kota Baru said he agreed to marry off his underage daughter so that she could have a better life.

Mr Che Rahim Che Deraman, 60, said he and his wife were willing to give their 15-year-old daughter away as a second wife to a 44-year-old Rela (People’s Volunteer Corp) member because they did not want their youngest daughter to continue living a hard life of poverty.

"As long as our daughter is happy, we are happy," said Mr Che Rahim on Tuesday (Sept 18).

The father confirmed that the marriage was solemnised in Tumpat in July upon the consent of the Syariah Court, as the groom had to seek permission to engage in polygamy.

"Life had been tough for us. I raised my 13 children with a measly income from my small sundry shop. I could barely make RM300 (S$99) a month.

"But, I have managed to raise my children and they are all now married.

"My youngest daughter is also happily married although she is still a minor," he said.

The young bride said she had agreed to the marriage although she had known the man for only several months.

"People can say what they like. I am least concerned about what people think of me," she said.


"I am happy and I will try to keep my husband happy. That is all that matters to me."

The girl said people were mostly good at criticising and condemning others.

"We cannot keep worrying about what people may think of us," she said.

This case comes after the one involving an 11-year-old girl who was married off to a 41-year-old scrap rubber dealer in Narathiwat, Thailand.

The girl is now under the protection of the Narathiwat provincial Social Development and Human Security Ministry.