Illicit sex before marriage is going to be banned in Indonesia. The country’s parliament is going to pass a new criminal law this month. According to the law, having sex outside of marriage will get a one-year jail term.

Bambang Urianto, a politician involved in passing the law, said the code could be passed as early as next week, the BBC reported. The law, if passed, will apply to Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike.

But such a relationship will be punished only when one party complains to the authorities against the other party. For example, if a married couple accuses each other of having extramarital sex, the offender will be punished subject to proof.

According to the law, parents of unmarried children can sue. The law also prohibits cohabitation before marriage and convicts can be jailed for six months.

According to Reuters, many people come from abroad for vacations and business in the tourism-dependent island nation of Indonesia. If such rules are implemented, the image of the country may be damaged. Because of this, the businessmen of the country have expressed concern.

Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, deputy chairperson of the Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO), said, ‘For the business sector, the application of this customary law will create legal uncertainty and force investors to reconsider investing in Indonesia.’

An earlier draft of the code was supposed to be passed in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests by thousands of people. Many people, including students, took to the streets in various Indonesian cities in the main clashes in the capital, Jakarta.

Tear gas and water cannons were used against the protesters who threw stones at the police. Such strict laws on sex and relationships are unprecedented in some parts of Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Aceh province enforces strict Islamic laws and punishes people for gambling, drinking and meeting with members of the opposite sex.

In one case in 2021, neighbors accused two men of having sex. Because of this, each of them was flogged 77 times by the police. On the same day a woman and a man were flogged 20 times for approaching each other and two men were flogged 40 times for drunkenness.

(Dhaka Times / 03 December / SAT)