KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/ ANN) - A Malaysian lawmaker who said it was okay for rape victims to marry their rapist and claimed that some nine-year-olds were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage has come in for some strong criticism.
MP Shabudin Yahaya, in trying to refute Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja), told the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) yesterday that some 12- and 15-year-old girls looked older than their actual ages.
“When we discuss the 12 and 15-year-old, we don’t see their physical bodies because some children aged 12 or 15 have bodies like 18-year-old women,” Shabudin cliamed,
The former Syariah court judge said some girls – who reached puberty when they were as young as nine – were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.
“It’s not impossible for them to get married,” Shabudin said, adding that there was “nothing wrong” with a rape victim marrying the rapist as it could serve as a “remedy” to the increasing number of social problems.
“Perhaps through marriage they can lead a better life. And the person who was raped need not necessarily have a bleak future.
“She will have a husband, at least, and this could serve as a remedy to growing social problems,” he said while debating the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017.
Dr Siti Mariah, however, argued that allowing the rapist to marry the victim would not guarantee a better life. “What if the husband is useless?” she said.
Outside of the House, there were some strong reactions and outrage with The Star Online report on his statement receiving 1,700 comments, almost all criticising him.
CIMB group chairman Nazir Razak, the Prime Minister’s brother, wrote on his Instagram: “No, it is not (okay). And no, they can’t (marry the victims)!”
Another reader wrote: “You are encouraging people to rape just to get a wife.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Rahman Dahlan posted in Facebook that he felt “utter shock and disappointment.”
“It is abhorrent to suggest that a rapist, who should be prosecuted, has the means to escape legal responsibility simply by marrying his victim.”