Why directives not announced by PM questioned

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Jainab (third from right) and her group with the mother and wife of late Faizal Ali.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno Wanita Chief, Datuk Jainab Datuk Ahmad Ayid is puzzled as to why the Prime Minister’s directive to all state governments to raise the minimum legal age for marriage to 18 years for both Muslims and non-Muslims is announced through a Penang exco and not by himself.

She was referring to Sunday’s Daily Express’ front page lead stating that PM Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad has ordered all state governments to raise the minimum legal age for marriage to 18 years for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

She said the newspapers quoted news portal Malay Mail’s report that Penang exco for Women, Family, Gender Inclusiveness and Non-Islamic Religion Committee chairman Chong Eng confirmed when contacted Saturday.

And Chong reportedly said that the directive was conveyed to her at a recent state exco meeting which was chaired by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

Chong also said that the Penang government had agreed to the directive and ordered the Penang Islamic Religious Department (JAIPP) to submit a report before the decision is finalised, and that the Penang Legislative Assembly was also ordered to process Mahathir’s directive.

“Why the Prime Minister keep secret about the directive? So what will happen to the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s announcement earlier that the State Cabinet maintained the legal marriage age at 16 for women and 18 for men in Sabah?” quizzed Jainab, who is also Sepanggar Umno Wanita Chief.

Jainab urged the Sabah State Government to relook at its earlier decision on the legal marriage age because, if it is true what the Penang exco was saying, then it (that Sabah State Government’s decision) will be against or not in line with the National-level decision on the matter.

Jainab, who was ex-State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister, still maintain her earlier stand that the legal marriage age for all men and women to be at 18 years in Sabah.

Mohd Shafie had recently said that the State Cabinet had agreed to retain the current legal marriage age of 16 for women and 18 for men in Sabah, The decision was made unanimously by the State Cabinet after a discussion with information and explanation provided by Sabah Mufti Datuk Bongsu Aziz Jaafar.

Jainab said the Sabah State Government should have taken into account all views and suggestions from various quarters concerned and not only based on just the Sabah Mufti, so to be fair when making a decision on the matter.

“Because it concerns the legal marriage age for women and men of different religious backgrounds, not only Muslims. So the views and suggestions from all need to be taken into account before coming up with any decision. Otherwise it will be unfair. The State Mufti cannot represent the other religions in Sabah,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jainab led a Sabah Umno Wanita group in a Ziarah Sayang programme in Kalabakan parliamentary constituency in Tawau where, together with Kalabakan Umno Wanita Chief Hajah Chaya Sulaiman, they visited the mother and wife to late Faizal Alli, the futsal player who was struck by lightning during a tournament and died at Chancellor Tuanku Mukhriz in Cheras.

Their group also visited a single mother Sauyah Hassim, as well as a Terung Susu Kambing tree planted by a friend, believed to contain health value and a local entrepreneur’s restaurant there, as part of the programme’s activities. – By LSK/BNN