Among the many things which our laws prohibit young people of less than the age of majority (age of majority is 18 years old) from doing are:-
a) buy tobacco products;
b) buy alcoholic beverages;
c) enter nightclubs/discos;
d) enter into any kind of contract unless the contract is for the provisions of necessaries and scholarships;
e) cannot be owners of land or deal with land;
g) cannot be employed unless such employment is specifically allowed under the Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act 1966;
h) cannot be tried in any court other than the Juvenile Courts;
i) cannot enter internet cafe during school hours;
j) cannot be seen gallivanting around town during school hours especially in school uniform;
k) children under 16 cannot have motorbike license and therefore legally are not allowed to ride a motorbike;
l) children under 17 cannot have car license and therefore legally are not allowed to drive a car;
m) people of less than 21 years old cannot have lorry license and therefore legally are not allowed to drive a lorry;
n) people of less than 21 years old cannot vote.
In the meantime, university and college students, regardless of their age, are not allowed to participate in any political activities, according to our law. This includes being driven in any vehicle with any member of any political party - especially opposition parties - or being caught in the possession of any banner or flyers of any political party, especially opposition parties.
All these prohibitions are legally designed to protect the kids who, presumably, are not endowed with the wisdom which we, the adults, have in abundance.
Yes, our kids are a protected lot.
Oh, but hold on.
In our country, children as young as 11 year old can get married, especially the girls. Fantastic. They cannot ride motorbike, drive a car, enter a nightclub, buy ciggies, drink beer or even enter an internet cafe.
BUT THEY CAN GET MARRIED. Cook for their husband. Do his laundries. Have sex with the hubby like bunnies on heat. Get pregnant. Deliver babies. Take care of the babies. Raise them up.
A 20 year old cannot even vote.
A 24 year old who studies in the university cannot even talk about politics.
But a 14 year old can get hitched and it will make big front page news of the newspaper.
And the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, herself a full blown woman, said it's okay as long as the Syariah Courts approve the marriage. Superb.
I want to ask a hypothetical question.
If the Honourable Minister had a 14 year old daughter and she is divorced from her husband, and the husband wants to marry off her 14 year old daughter, would she be okay with it just because the Syariah Court has approved the proposed marriage?
Don't laugh at me. I am serious. Apart from all these inter-faith controversies which we are now facing, where the ex husband who has converted to Islam is converting his children from, say, Hinduism, to Islam and such, another controversy will soon emerge, I am sure.
The controversy is like what I had described above. A couple has underage kids. They divorce. And one parent would want to marry off the underage kid, especially if she is a gal.
Just wait and see.
What will the Civil Court, especially our esteemed Federal Court say if that happens? Oh, I know the answer already. They will say they have no jurisdiction as it is a syariah matter.
Just you all wait and see.