TENOM: Ten cases of child marriage were recorded by the Kemabong Native Court (MAN) near here from 2018 to 2022.
This was disclosed during the Children Early Awareness Programme (MIPA) organised by the Women’s Affairs Department (Jhewa) in collaboration with the KemabongSub-district Office, Kemabong N.43 Community Development Leader and grassroots leaders at Dewan Sri Ontoros, Kemabong, near here, recently.
Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Datuk James Ratib, in commenting on this, hopes the number can be reduced through MIPA.
Earlier, James said child marriage should be avoided as a measure to protect women so that they do not continue to be trapped in such a practice, especially in the Interior.
Child marriage is not a new issue in the community as it has been practised since time immemorial, he said, adding this issue needs to be viewed from a different dimension in line with the increasingly challenging times.
“In the past, marriage at a very young age, especially for children, was practised because of socioeconomic conditions, educational opportunities and the reality of life that made the practice normal.
“But now, with better educational opportunities, technological progress, positive socioeconomic conditions and awareness of how important it is for children to be allowed to develop their potential, marriage should no longer be an option to get out of any problem,” he said.
His speech was read by his Assistant minister, Datuk Flovia Ng.James said indeed, marriage is a beautiful thing if it is sealed by a couple who have matured and ready. Therefore, he said, the issue of child marriage needs the attention of all parties to look at it holistically.
MIPA, he said, was organised to deal with the issue of child marriage and serve as a platform for the implementing agencies and strategic partners of Jhewa who are involved in meeting the community, youth, district leaders and the entire members of the local community.
Also present were Kemabong Assemblyman Datuk Rubin Balang, Jhewa Assistant Director Dg Affifah Fatiah Awang Nohin, as well as heads of departments and community leaders.