The Sabah government has announced that several laws pertaining to child marriages will be amended during its next state legislative assembly.

This will effectively ban the marriage of children under the age of 18, Malay Mail reported.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that anyone below the age of 18 is considered a child, unless specific laws states otherwise.

In Sabah, as in other states in Malaysia, the legal age for marriage is 18 for non-Muslims and 16 for Muslims.

However, children younger than that can get married with the consent of the Menteri Besar or Syariah Court.

The matter is more complicated in states like Sabah and Sarawak where Native Laws are also applicable.

Law and Native affairs minister Datuk Aidi Mokhtar reportedly said that Islamic Family Law Enactment, the Native Courts Enactment and other related laws will be amended to achieve the ban.

The civil society has been calling for the absolute ban of child marriages in Malaysia, but the government is yet to commit to it.

There has been promises to have stricter guidelines for child marriages, but many are calling for the government to take a firm stand and not allow any exceptions.