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The Marriage Of An 11-Year-Old Girl To A 41-Year-Old Man Has Spread Outrage On Social Media

Government officials are investigating but say that there is no record of the marriage.

Posted on July 3, 2018, at 10:47 a.m. ET

The marriage of an 11-year-old Thai girl to a man 30 years her senior has provoked huge upset in Malaysia, where the two live.


The man, named by the Associated Press as Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, reportedly traveled to Thailand and married the girl there in June.


Local media reports said that Che Abdul Karim is a wealthy rubber trader who already has two wives and six children. Muslim men in Malaysia can marry up to four women.

The girl and her parents are from Thailand but live in Gua Musang, a town in southern Malaysia, according to local outlet the Star.

The girl's parents said that she will only be allowed to live with her new husband after she turns 16.

Her father, identified only as a 49-year-old rubber tapper, said that this was the only reason he had accepted the proposal.

"What happens after this, I leave it up to my son-in-law to handle it," he told the Malaysia Digest, referring to the 41-year-old man. "I have known him for a long time because previously we used to rent a house next door to his first wife."

"My daughter is also friends with my son-in-law's child with his first wife. Before this, whenever they went on holiday, they would take my daughter along," he added.

Other outlets quoted the child as saying that she was happy with the match because she loved Che Abdul Karim.

News and photos of the marriage spread after Che Abdul Karim's second wife, Effa Zulkifle, shared a now-deleted Facebook post with the caption, "Congra­tula­tions on your wedding, my husband, 41, his other wife, 11."


She later wrote in another post that she has referred the matter to officials.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Zulkifle for comment.

Screenshots of Zulkifle's post spread to Twitter, where it went viral.

@EzanIdma @SyedSaddiq @drwanazizah @maszlee please investigate this matter. We cannot allow child marriage.

People were outraged.




Many called for an end to child marriage.

If true, this is disgusting @drwanazizah It's time we protected the children of this country.

Neglects his first wife, letting her take care of their four children, then marries an 11 year-old girl as his second wife. It's hard to convey genuine outrage on the internet bc it seems like the default emotion, but this makes me SO MAD. HOW ARE WE LETTING THIS HAPPEN?????

I have no words. So disappointed and sad. How can this be allowed in this day and age pun I don't know. Kids should be allowed to be kids, umur 11 tahun patut fikir prepare nak UPSR, not the possibility of getting pregnant and jaga hati madu.

Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry with the permission of a religious court, but the Malaysian government said that local religious authorities do not have any record of this marriage.

Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that the government is investigating the marriage.

"We must make sure there is no discrimination or coercion in this marriage, especially towards the child,” said Wan Azizah — the women, family and community development minister — to the Star.

She said that officers had been dispatched to meet with the girl's mother, and officials are "waiting for more reports before deciding on the next course of action."

If the man is found to have married the girl without permission, he could face six months in prison.

Che Abdul Karim reportedly said that he was disappointed by the reaction on social media.

"I am looking into this matter to pursue a legal action to clear my name from the inaccurate and malicious allegations," he told local publication Bernama.

He also told reporters that he intended to get her a proper marriage certification when she turned 16.


The name of local outlet Bernama was misspelled in a previous version of this post.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.