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Outrage over child marriage in Malaysia

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Despite gains in some countries, more than 14 million girls under age 18 will be married each year over the next 10 years. Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – The marriage of a Malaysia man with a 11-year-old Thai girl in the Muslim majority country has sparked outrage with one activist yesterday labelling the groom a “child predator”.

Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry if they obtain the permission of a religious court.

But the country’s women and families ministry said there was no record of religious authorities approving the union, which took place last month across the border in Thailand.

The 41-year-old husband could be jailed for six months if he married without permission.

Malaysian activists have called for law reform to end child marriage, which they said was widespread among the country’s Muslim population.

Some 16,000 Malaysian girls below the age of 15 are already married, advocates claim. Muslim men are allowed to take up to four wives in Malaysia.

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