TENOM: The issue of marriage among children needs to be looked at from a different dimension, in line with the increasingly challenging times, said the Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being (KPMKR), Datuk James Ratib.
According to him, the issue of early marriage needs to receive attention from all parties holistically because marriage is a beautiful thing if it is sealed by a couple who have matured and are ready enough.
“If you want to compare, in the old days marriage at a very young age, especially children was practiced because of socioeconomic conditions, educational opportunities and the reality of life that made the practice normal.
“But now, with much better educational opportunities, technological progress, positive socioeconomic conditions and awareness, justify of how important it is for children to be given the opportunity to develop their potential.
“Truthfully, marriage should not be an option to get out of any kind of problem, what more if it is linked to the issue of poverty,” he stressed.
James said this while inaugurating the Awareness Program for Addressing the Issue of Early Child Marriage (MIPA) organized by the Department of Women’s Affairs (JHEWA) at Dewan Sri Ontoros Kemabong, Thursday.
The text of his speech was delivered by the Assistant Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being, Datuk Flovia Ng.
The program serves as a platform for JHEWA’s implementing agencies and strategic partners involved to meet the community, the youth, district leaders and the entire local community.
Through this program, actions and related issues can be publicized, improved and help participants after the program has taken place.
“I believe, with the organization of this awareness program, the issue of early child marriage can be curbed or at least reduced in Kemabong sub-district.
“I understand that this district recorded 10 cases throughout the year 2018 to 2022 through statistics released by the Native Court (MAN).
“Hopefully the sharing of knowledge related to early marriage today will trigger a higher awareness as well as make Sabah more friendly to the sustainability of women and guarantee a more harmonious and prosperous Malaysian family,” he said.
Meanwhile, James, who is also the Sugut Assemblyman, said that the position of the KPMKR Ministry and its agencies is to ensure that women’s empowerment efforts will always be prioritized.
“With the current context in the country, there are still some obstacles that need to be addressed in our efforts to raise the dignity of women and those in need to a higher peak.
“I am confident that this kind of awareness program opens the minds of the attendees regarding the issue of early child marriage. Not just an affirmation, but along with it, the ministry is committed to implementing changes to defend universal human rights, especially women,” he said.
James thanked the Kemabong Assemblyman Datuk Rubin Balang, the Community Leaders Unit (UPPM) N43 Kemabong and the Kemabong District Head as well as all those who have been involved in making the program a success.