GEORGE TOWN, Feb 9 – Police and local Islamic religious authorities held an “intervention session” last night with the parents of an 11-year-old girl, who was nearly married off to a 20-year-old man, in Perai on Wednesday.
Central Seberang Perai police chief Nik Ros Azhan Nik Abdul Hamid said six members of the local Islamic religious authority discussed the welfare of the young Rohingya refugee with her parents.
On Wednesday, a local activist had alerted the police that the girl was about to be married off to a 20-year-old Rohingya man. The ceremony was subsequently called off after insistence by the police.
The 46-year-old father of the bride-to-be had told police officers that he had wanted to marry off his elder daughter as he was facing financial difficulties and that this was a common practice in the Rohingya community.
Nik Ros said the intervention session last night was for the religious authorities to learn more about the family of the girl, whose father is a contract labourer and the mother, a housewife.
He said the state Welfare Department and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had been alerted of the matter and would help the family where possible.
“The father of the bride has agreed with the police and religious authorities that he will only marry off his child after she reaches legal age.
“The state Welfare Department’s child services section has agreed to monitor the girl constantly,” he said.
Activist stops another child marriage
K Sudhagaran Stanley, who tipped off the police on the case, said this was not the first time a child bride was to have been married off.