Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, a Malaysian rubber trader and active member at his mosque, made the news last month when it was revealed that he had taken a third wife, an 11 year old girl named Ayu.
The public learned about the wedding when Mr. Che Karim’s second wife, Siti Noor Azilah, posted a sarcastic congratulatory message along with photos of the marriage ceremony in June.
Ms. Azilah complained that Mr. Che Karim fails to provide for the needs of his six children, one of whom is ill with spina bifocals, and yet is able to take Ayu on vacation. She and Mr. Che Karim’s first wife, Nuraini Che Nawi, banded together against their husband’s third marriage and gave him a choice between the young girl or them.
Norazila, one of Mr. Che Karim’s daughters and a friend of Ayu, said that the marriage caught her by surprise.
Ayu’s parents agreed to the marriage after Mr. Che Karim assured them that it would not be consummated until after five years. Nevertheless, the Malaysian public has not taken kindly to the news, and calls for the banning of child marriages have been raised again.
However, Sayed Nordin, the imam of Kuala Betis Oman mosque, has said that the marriage is allowable on three conditions: the girl’s consent, her parents’ consent, and the fact that she already started her menstrual period. He called Mr. Che Karim a good and responsible man who always attended prayer. However, Mr. Che Karim received a $450 fine in Shariya Court for marrying Ayu in Thailand without its permission.
In May, the opposition group who won the elections promised to make child marriages illegal. But since the news about Mr. Che Karim and Ayu broke out, many have criticised the Malaysian government for not doing enough to protect Ayu and other child brides.
To the family of Che Abdul Karim, please be informed that we, Wanita MCA, have a legal aid centre, especially for women. If you are at the receiving end of any forms of abuse, or simply… https://t.co/EbAnSl5IFR
— MCA (@MCAHQ) July 31, 2018