While civil society and law experts are trying to find the best way to handle the matter, the Kelantan mufti said Muslims should wish the couple well instead of instigating to break them apart.
The Narathiwat governor has formed an interdisciplinary team comprising a social worker, a psychologist and a medical doctor to care for the 11-year-old Thai girl who married a 41-year-old Malaysian man, said a Thai source.
The girl is now under the protection of the Narathiwat provincial Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said the source who is a social activist.
“The ministry has provided a private facility for the girl and her family and is taking care of their needs,” he said yesterday.
The source said the family included her parents but he was not sure how many siblings will be staying together with them.
The source said the Kelantan government sent her back on Wednesday and the Thai authorities had received her and she is now under the care of the Narathiwat provincial Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
The source said the ministry will not allow the 41-year-old man to see the girl while she is undergoing physical and mental checks. He said meetings will convene soon to provide legal recommendations to the case.
“We, the civil society and law experts will meet and discuss,” he said.
There will be 14 experts giving the women and children’s perspective while 19 experts will focus on the legal aspect, he said.
In Kota Baru, Kelantan mufti Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad said Muslims should wish the couple well instead of instigating to break them apart.
He said it is ironic that the public tends to be less critical of couples forging illicit relationship leading to pregnancy.
“But they tend to be mean towards the poor young girl and her family although the marriage was solemnised according to syariah law,” he said in an interview.
He was responding to the groom’s claim that he had to temporarily house his young bride and her family in a secluded area to avoid undue criticism against her family.
“We can criticise. But it should be constructive in nature, not destructive,” Shukri said.
The child marriage case in Gua Musang came to light when the groom’s second wife vented her frustration on social media after learning that her husband took a third wife who was younger than his children from his first marriage.
The marriage was solemnised in Narathiwat on June 18, but the groom has yet to register his marriage in Malaysia.
In Petaling Jaya, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh declined to comment about the whereabouts and current situation of the girl.
“There are contradictory (media) reports. So just wait for the clarification from Putrajaya,” she said. – The Star