Fear of being arrested over new laws outlawing sex before marriage has resulted in many Australians cancelling holidays to Bali.
The new laws would make consensual sex between unmarried adults a crime in Indonesia, and it does not recognise same-sex marriage outlawing all LGBT liaisons but also unmarried couples living together.
The Criminal Code revision bans insulting religion, the state of Indonesia and the president of the country.
Under the new laws, tourists and locals could be jailed for up to six months for having sex if they are not married under a ban to be introduced under amendments to Indonesia’s Criminal Code.
However, President Jokowi Widodo has urged Parliament to hold off debates on the bill. If passed by parliament, the tough new laws will make consensual sex between unmarried adults a crime.
According to The Daily Telegraph in the UK, Australian entrepreneur Elizabeth Travers said cancellations have already started pouring in.
‘The law has not even changed yet and I have already received cancellations. One client said they no longer trust coming to Bali because they are not married,’ Ms Travers told The Daily Telegraph.
Giving their opinions, Australian tourists believe the proposed laws would have grave effects on Bali’s booming tourism industry.
Some say the new laws will be more detrimental to Bali tourism than the threat of volcano eruptions.
Ms Travers said the tourism industry would be destroyed and trigger the end of life in Bali as we know it.
The laws would only come into effect in the next two years if it passes parliament, which may happen in the next sitting.
“Kissing on a Bali beach at sunset, if not married, could end in jail for ‘indecent acts carried out in public’ if the Indonesian Criminal Code passes this week. Tourists have been warned,” writes The Daily Mail.
It says under the new 628-article revised Criminal Code, providing contraception to children under 18, the abortion pill and insulting religion would also be crimes punishable by jail.
But on Friday, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has called for the House of Representatives to postpone passing the bill amid public concerns over the amendments and they should take public’s concerns on board.
He said this after some locals objected to a certain amendment in the bill.
Human rights groups have called for the Indonesian parliament to revise the changes.
Indonesia is a country where women and gays are publicly whipped for illicit sex, says rights organisations.
But lawmakers are probably moving forward with the revisions, saying it will replace a Dutch colonial-era set of laws, a long overdue expression of Indonesian independence and religiosity.
Unmarried couples who ‘live together as a husband and wife’ could be jailed for six months or face a maximum fine of 10 million rupiah ($US 710), which is three months’ salary for many Indonesians. -/TISG
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