Skip to main content

Malaysia MP: 'Ok for rape victims to marry their rap

Shabudin Yahaya said there was "nothing wrong" with rape victims marrying their rapists
A Malaysian MP has drawn outrage for saying it can be OK for rapists to marry their victims and that some 12-year-old girls were "physically and spiritually" ready to get married.

Shabudin Yahaya from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition said marriage could help victims "lead a better life".

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country, has just passed a new law on sexual offences against children.

Despite opposition efforts, the law does not ban child marriages. 

It remains legal for Muslims under 16 to get married in Malaysia under certain circumstances.

'Remedy to social problems'

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on the bill on Tuesday, Mr Shabudin said that although rape was considered a criminal offence, the rapist and the victim should both be "given a second chance to turn a new leaf".

"Perhaps through marriage they [the rape victim and rapist] can lead a healthier, better life. And the person who was raped will 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. 

The Malaysian lawmaker (not pictured) is part of PM Najib Razak's ruling BN coalition
He also said some children were "physically and spiritually" ready for marriage.

"Some girls who are aged between 12 and 15 years have bodies like 18-year-old women," he said, citing his experience as a former Sharia court judge.

He later said his comments had been taken out of context, but that he opposed criminalising child marriages as they are a part of Islamic law, Reuters reports.

A 'worrying and dangerous trend'

In Malaysia, there has been an increasing emphasis on strict Islamic codes of conduct in recent years.

Sharmila Sekaran, chair of the Malaysia's Voice of the Children NGO, said the politician's words represented a "worrying trend" for young girls.

Child marriage in Malaysia
  • The official legal marrying age for Muslims in Malaysia is 16 for girls and 18 for boys.
  • But Muslim children younger than 16 can legally marry with permission from their parents and religious courts.
  • A UN report estimates that more than 9,000 child marriages took place in Malaysia in the past five years.
  • Most child marriages are believed to be in rural or traditional communities. 
"You have politicians like him, giving voice to dangerous statements and backward views. It only serves to reinforce the view that rape is ok," Ms Sekaran told BBC News. 

She described his argument that children could marry as "flawed and unsupported by any evidence". 

"Sharia courts are full of divorces among young couples. There is a very, very high rate of divorce and re-marriage among couples in Malaysia."

Ms Sekaran, who was present in parliament on Tuesday, said most people there had been "outraged" by Mr Shabudin's remark.

Mr Shabudin's comments drew widespread criticism and anger from many Malaysians.

"His was a horribly backward and archaic view that should have no place in our modern society," wrote Joshua Hong in a Facebook post

Other Malaysians called him a "first-class idiot". Some shared memes on Facebook, condemning his words.

Many Malaysians expressed anger at their politician's words
Lewynd Nishel wrote: "It's a sad day indeed when our society has degraded to a point where it's not only legal but socially acceptable to beat women and rape children."

"Rape is rape. To think that this man is an MP really disgusts me," said Farhan Akmal from Kuala Lumpur. "Get him out. Revoke his position. He isn't fit to lead."

The fact that Mr Shabudin is involved in the debate on the child sexual offences bill was not lost on his colleague Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who said he was "shocked and disappointed".

"It is abhorrent in this 21st Century to suggest that a rapist, who should in the first place be prosecuted, have the means to escape legal responsibility simply by marrying his victim," he said in a press statement. 

"Every child has the right to live, to dream, and to have fun... Our government and lawmakers have the responsibility to protect the best interest of Malaysian children." 




Must Read : Radio & TV Host Anita Erskine Pens Down A Letter To Rashida Black Beauty

We woke up to this masterpiece online, a LETTER of Starr FM’s award-winning media queen and Women’s advocate, Anita Erskine has written a letter to Rashida Black Beauty .. Just like a carousel, the maiden is still in her spinning stage and like mother eagle, Anita sees the future that Rashida someday can become a fabric of a building, thus, she wants her to, “…come and let’s talk – one on one.”

Serena Williams explains why she chose to marry a White man

A lot of Black people have criticized tennis champion Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams for marrying and dating White men, instead of sticking with Black brothers. The mother-of-one has now explained her reason for marrying Alexis Ohanian.

Akufo-Addo's presidential kiss with wife Rebecca Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivered the 2019 State of the Nation Address on Thursday, February 21 in Parliament.

2017 WomanRising 100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women Announced

WomanRising, a flagship network of The African Network of Entrepreneurs (TANOE) has announced its annual list of the 100 Most Influential Women in Ghana (100 MIWG) for 2017.

Ghanaian female scientist, Dr. Priscilla Kolibea Mante receives international award for research

Five outstanding Laureates, one from each continent, were honoured for their significant contribution to science. These exceptional women were recognised for the excellence of their research in the fields of material science, mathematics and computer science and they will each receive €100,000. Their achievements were celebrated alongside 15 International Rising Talents who are promising young women scientists from across the world at an awards ceremony on 14th March 2019 at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.