CHILD, EARLY AND FORCED MARRIAGES IN MALAYSIA - Grounding Human Rights in Malaysia
7 November 2022
Women and girls in Malaysia account for 48.6% of the total population, close to the percentage of women and girls in the East Asia Pacific region which is at 49.33% (World Bank, 2020).3 Even though they represent almost half of the nation’s population, they are still facing many forms of gendered injustice through discriminatory and archaic laws and policies that hinders Malaysia’s progress toward. [...] It is equally essential to note that Malaysia acknowledges native customary marriages that are practised by the customs of the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, the Bumiputera of Sabah and Sarawak and Hindu communities.10 The LRA does not have overarching powers over these communities thus allowing their children to marry without any minimum age of marriage as opposed to the statutory minimum age. [...] Malaysia is also signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). [...] The main thrust of international human rights conventions is that “early marriage is a violation of fundamental human rights and that both state and non-state actors must be held accountable under international treaty obligations to combat early child marriage…”.14 The General Assembly affirms the necessity for States to better the gathering and usage of quantitative, qualitative and comparable da. [...] Not much has progressed since the launch of the National Strategy Plan in Handling the Causes of Child Marriage due to the mutiple series of change of governments which sheds some light on the absence of political will by persons in power to enact laws to protect children in Malaysia.16 RECOMMENDATIONS AND THE WAYS FORWARD17 Implement the CEDAW concluding observation to raise the minimum age of ma.