Honouring Malaysian women
Women, family and marriage
Many women’s groups in Malaysia are seeking to raise the legal marriage age and to make child marriages illegal - in 2009, Malaysia’s Woman’s Aid Organisation found that 32 girls under the age of 10 had taken the premarital HIV test.
In 1999, the Infants Act was amended and parental control granted equally to both mother and father. Before this, only the father who was recognised as the sole legal guardian. But, now in the event of a divorce the Civil Law Reform Act gives men and women equal guardianship.
Marriage reform laws were pushed through in 1989, and the 1976 Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act banned polygamy among non-Muslim men. By 1981, all marriages had to be registered.
In 1991, working married women were allowed to file annual tax assessments and able to enjoy the same tax free allowances as their husbands.