|[Published: Sunday July 01 2018]
Child bride of 11 sparks outrage in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR 1 Jun (ANA) - The wedding of a girl of 11 to a man of 41 has prompted outrage in Malaysia and calls for the minimum age for all marriages to be changed to 18.
Her Thai parents say they consented for her to become the Malaysian's third wife if he agreed she could stay at their home until she was 16.
Malaysia's government says it has no record of the marriage, which occurred in Thailand, and is investigating.
The UN children's agency said it was "shocking and unacceptable".
"It is not in the best interest of the child," said Unicef's Malaysia representative, Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
Photos have emerged showing the adult groom holding the girl's hand after the marriage ceremony.
He already has two wives and six children aged between five and 18, local media reports say.
The girl's Thai family work in the north-eastern Malaysian state of Kelantan, tapping rubber from trees.
Malaysian activists say the groom is a prosperous trader while the girl's parents have lived in poverty.
While the current legal age for marriage in Malaysia is 18, Islamic sharia courts can approve Muslim marriages for those under the age of 16.
However the Malaysian government said local religious authorities had no record of this marriage.(ANA)
FA/ANA/1 June 2018-------