Malaysian man fined after marrying 11-year-old Thai girl

A young actress plays the role of Giorgia, 10, forced to marry Paolo, 47, during a happening organised by Amnesty International to denounce child marriage. (File photo: AFP)

A Malaysian man who married an 11-year-old Thai girl has been fined 1,800 Malaysian pounds after pleading guilty to a court of law.

Shi Abdul Karim Shi Abdul Hamid, who has two wives and six children, was indicted under the articles 19 and 124 of the Malaysian Islamic Family Law, and was charged with a fine and a six month jail sentence.

Judge Mohamed Sorbiani Hussein ruled that Abdul Hamid must pay 900 Malaysian ringgit (an equivalent of $225) for each charge, according to a report in the local newspaper Harian Metro.

The marriage, held last June in a mosque in southern Thailand, sparked outrage in the Muslim majority country, with one activist labelling the groom a “child predator.”

The marriage also prompted controversy over the need for legal reforms to put an end to child marriage. While the man was convicted of polygamy and marriage without permission, he was not charged with marrying an underage girl since the law does not consider it a crime.

Malaysian lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, tweeted, “That’s why there is a need for legislations…. Marriage to a child must be a criminal offense.”

A legal marriage

The case was opened when his second wife filed a complaint against him. However, Abdul Hamid argued that the marriage was legal because he had the blessing of the girl’s parents.

In Malaysia, Muslim girls under the age of 16 can legally get married with their parents’ approval.

In an interview with a TV channel, Abdul Hamid said he would apply for a formal marriage certificate when his young wife turns 16.

Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said authorities investigated whether the girl’s parents had given Abdul Hamid permission to marry her because of their poor economic conditions.

The investigation revealed that her mother requested that the marriage not be completed until her daughter turned 16, and they agreed that she would remain in her parents’ home until then.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57