Indonesia is close to ratifying major changes in its criminal code, which would criminalise extramarital sexual sex and ban unmarried couples living together.
If officials approve sweeping changes to the country’s criminal code, as was expected on Tuesday, Indonesia could spend up to one year in prison for having sex without marriage.
The revised code would also criminalize adultery and ban unmarried couples living together.
If the law is passed, it will apply to both Indonesian citizens as well as foreigners, including tourists to Bali and Lombok.
Insulting the president or spreading views that are contrary to the secular national ideology known as the Pancasila will also be banned.
Experts in legal and civil society groups claim that the changes are a setback for the nation of Southeast Asia.
“The state cannot manage morality. “The government is not obligated to act as an umpire between conservative Indonesia and liberal Indonesia,” stated Bivitri Susanti (a law expert from Indonesia Jentera School of Law).
Sufmi Dasco Ahmad (Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives) and Bambang Wilyanto (head of the parliamentary committee overseeing the revision) told Reuters that Tuesday’s plenary session would be held by parliament to ratify this new code.
national demonstrations stopped previous plans to ratify new draft code in September 2019. Tens of thousands protestors took to the streets, and police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.
Revisions to the code that date back to colonial times have taken decades to complete. The changes have been met with protests throughout the country in recent years. However, this year’s response was much more measured.
Daniel Winarta, University of Indonesia student was one of the small group of protesters who gathered in front of Jakarta’s parliament on Monday.
He said, “On cohabitation for example, it’s clearly private matter.” “We will continue to reject this.”
The majority of Indonesia’s people are Muslims, but there are large numbers of Hindus and Christians. While most Indonesian Muslims follow a moderate Islam, recent years have seen an increase in religious conservatism.
The revised code allows only close relatives, such as a spouse, parent, or child, to report complaints about extramarital sex and cohabiting.
A complaint regarding insulting the president is only possible to the president. However, such a crime will result in a three-year sentence in jail.
To allow the government to prepare regulations, it will take three more years to ratify the code.