Some still marrying before 18
Published on: Thursday, July 11, 2019
By: Clarence George Dol

RANAU: Statistics show worrying indication that some communities in the State still allow their children to marry before the age of 18, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellbeing, Norazlinah Arif said.

She said although the law had provisions for marriages, some communities still allow marriages without considering the age of the child.

She said marriage between a boy and girl below 18 years of age would be challenging as well as physically stressful.

“These situations can lead to social and moral problems of children. For example the children concerned could not continue their education. They won’t have sources of income and have to carry the burden of family life at a young age.”

“Besides that, a baby when born will also be affected where care and welfare are concerned, among others,” she said when launching the Awareness Programme on Child Marriages Issues at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Ulu Sugut school hall, Tuesday.

The programme was organised by the Women Affairs Department Sabah (JHEWA). Also present during the event were its Director Masturah Haji Jamrah, Principal, Johnny Apin and Senior Assistant, Suraizah Ruji among others.

Norazlinah said it is society’s responsibility to think about their children’s future for they would be the nation’s leaders of the future.

As such, parents and the community at large need to play an important role in giving children early education to ensure against child marriages occurring in the State and the country, she opined.

According to her, teachers and Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) also need to play their part by reporting to the relevant authorities cases of students leaving school to get married.

“All members of the community, including government bodies, non- governmental organisations, community leaders and the public need to play their part and be more concerned so that problems stemming from child marriages will not occur,” she stressed. 

Norazlinah said the community need to know and understand the issue and challenges of child marriages.

The programme on Awareness on Child Marriages Issues was opportune and timely in spreading awareness and knowledge to children, families as well as the community on the issues of child marriages, especially in Sabah.

“Through this programme we will accord guidelines and skills in understanding the psychology, personality, marriage and the law on child marriages, family life, reproductive health, guidance and counselling to the target group,” she stressed.

Among the speakers at the programme were UMS Psychology Studies Unit Chief, Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Idris Bullare@Bahari (Understanding Psychology, Personality and Marriages), Deputy Director AADK Sabah, Dayang Siti Rohani Sedan (Introduction to Module Implementation), Deffense Lawyer, Noor Azah Abdul Rahman (Legal Perspective Concerning Child Marriages), Registered Counselor and Motivational Speaker, Dr Hjh Ananglangka Mad Kassim and acting Director LPPKN, Suzanna Piny (Education on Family and Reproductive Lives).

Norazlinah hoped that this awareness programme would be carried out continuously and in all other districts in the State especially in remote rural areas where the populace seldom have the chance to attend such functions.

She also called on all programme participants especially students and parents to share their acquired knowledge with their friends and family. 


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