Malaysia MP: Okay for rapists to wed their victims

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KUALA LUMPUR There is nothing wrong with a rape victim marrying the rapist, according to a Barisan Nasional lawmaker, who even suggested that some nine-year-old girls can be mature enough for marriage.

Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya, in trying to refute Kota Raja MP Siti Mariah Mahmud, said some 12- and 15-year-old girls looked older than their actual ages.

"Some children aged 12 or 15, their bodies are like 18-year-old women," Mr Shabudin told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

The former Syariah Court judge added that some girls who reached puberty when they were as young as nine were "physically and spiritually" ready for marriage.

"So it is not impossible for them to get married," Mr Shabudin said, adding that there was "nothing wrong" with a rape victim marrying the rapist as it could serve as a "remedy" to the increasing number of social problems.

He said this when debating the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 after several opposition lawmakers suggested amending it to include child marriages as an offence.

He said that although rape is a criminal offence, the rapist and the victim should be "given a second chance to turn a new leaf in life".

"Perhaps through marriage they can lead a healthier and better life.

"And the person who was raped does not necessarily have a bleak future. She will have a husband, at least..." he said.

Dr Siti Mariah, however, argued that allowing the rapist to marry the victim would not guarantee a better life.

"I don't agree with marrying off the victim to the rapist.

"If the rapist repents, maybe that's fine, but what if the husband is 'haprak' (useless)?" she said.

Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching cited two cases of the victims marrying the attackers, and argued that the marriages ended up becoming more problematic.

Her motion to amend the Bill to include child marriages as an offence was ultimately defeated by a voice vote. - THE STAR