You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Bali bonking ban panic: Australians CANCEL their holidays to the resort island because they fear being arrested over new laws outlawing sex before marriage

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 20/09/2019 Alana Mazzoni and Alison Bevege

Video provided by Nine News

Australians have already started cancelling their holidays to Bali over fears they could be arrested ahead of Indonesia's threat to make sex outside of marriage illegal.

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.

If passed by parliament, the tough new laws will make consensual sex between unmarried adults a crime, and will also make it illegal for unmarried couples to live together.

Australian entrepreneur Elizabeth Travers - who runs 30 villas across Bali - 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. 

a woman wearing a hat: Australian tourists believe the proposed laws would have grave effects on Bali's booming tourism industry © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australian tourists believe the proposed laws would have grave effects on Bali's booming tourism industry a person holding a plate of food: Australian entrepreneur Elizabeth Travers - who runs 30 villas in Bali - said cancellations have already started pouring in © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australian entrepreneur Elizabeth Travers - who runs 30 villas in Bali - said cancellations have already started pouring in

After living on the holiday island for 15 years, Ms Travers believes the tough new laws would be more detrimental for tourism than volcano eruptions.

'I have traded through two bombings and multiple nature disasters and think that if the central government is serious about enforcing such laws, the tourism industry would be destroyed and trigger the end of life in Bali as we know it,' she said.

Tourism operators are relying on the hope that locals will turn a 'blind eye' should the laws pass through parliament. 

Tourists told 9 News the laws logistically won't work.  

'Well it's silly really. I don't know how they're going to police it. I mean that would take a lot of time,' one woman said. 

'(It will affect) school leavers. Their parents might be a bit more strict on letting them go,' another said.  

On Friday, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has called for the House of Representatives to postpone passing the bill amid public concerns over the amendments. 

President Jokowi issued a statement saying he is taking the public's concerns on board. 

Some locals have objected certain amendments in the bill, prompting the president to call for the proposed changes to be 'thoroughly reviewed'. 

'I have ordered the Law and Human Rights Ministry to convey (my) stance to the House, that the passing of the Criminal Code bill into law should be postponed and that the bill should not be passed during the current sitting period,' Jokowi said.

'I hope the House is on the same page about this matter so that the deliberation of the Criminal Code bill be continued (by lawmakers) in the next period.'

The laws would come into effect in the next two years if it passes parliament. 

All same-sex sexual relations would be automatically banned under the revised Criminal Code as Indonesia does not recognise gay marriage.

'A large number of laws may change and these will also apply to foreign residents and visitors, including tourists,' the Department of Foreign Affairs posted to the Smart Traveller website on Friday.  

The new penal code comes amid renewed religious piety and Islamist political activism in the world's most populous Muslim majority country. 

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. 

It would also outlaw insults on the president's dignity, the vice president, the national flag and the national anthem - a move rights groups have criticised as an assault on basic freedoms. 

Human rights groups have called for the Indonesian parliament to revise the changes, which they say will violate the rights of women, religious minorities, and the LGBTQ community, and freedom of speech. 

The changes to the law would also apply to foreigners visiting the nation which is home to around 260 million people, including substantial Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minority groups.   

Lawmakers said that the new penal code, which would replace a Dutch colonial-era set of laws, was a long overdue expression of Indonesian independence and religiosity.

'The state must protect citizens from behaviour that is contrary to the supreme precepts of God,' said Nasir Djamil, a politician from the Prosperous Justice Party. 

He said leaders of all religions had been consulted on the changes given that Indonesia's founding ideology was based on belief in God.

Under the proposed laws, 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.

A prosecution can proceed if a village chief, who heads the lowest tier of government, files a complaint with police, and parents or children of the accused do not object. Parents, children and spouses can also lodge a complaint.

The inclusion of the new power for village chiefs was warranted because 'the victim of adultery is also society', another lawmaker, Teuku Taufiqulhadi, said.

'Across the board, this is a ratcheting up of conservatism. It's extremely regressive,' said Tim Lindsey, director of the University of Melbourne's Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society. 

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, an NGO, said millions of Indonesians could be ensnared by the new laws. It noted a study indicating that 40 per cent of Indonesian adolescents engaged in pre-marital sexual activity.  

The law also impacts homosexuals as gay marriage is not recognised in Indonesia.

The code also establishes prison terms for those found to commit 'obscene acts', defined as violating norms of decency and politeness through 'lust or sexuality' for both heterosexual and homosexual people.

The new laws will also apply to foreigners. However, asked whether tourists in Indonesia could face jail for extramarital sex, Taufiqulhadi said: 'No problem, as long as people don't know.'

There would also be a maximum four-year prison term for women who have an abortion, applicable if there was no medical emergency or rape involved. The code further introduces fines for some people who promote contraception, and a six-month prison term for unauthorised discussion of 'tools of abortion'.

Senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, Andreas Harsono, said such a move would put women's lives at risk. 

'The bill's provisions censoring information about contraception could set back the progress Indonesia has made in recent years to dramatically reduce maternal deaths,' Harsono said. 

Insulting the government and state institutions also carries a prison term - which activists say could have an impact on press freedoms - a similar law was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2006.

In a statement, Human Right Watch, said if passed the new laws would; 'violate free speech and freedom of association. The ability to engage in political speech, even speech espousing a peaceful political ideology that the government does not favor, lies at the heart of the democratic process.'   

If passed, the new penal code would also give local authorities greater freedom to introduce punishments for breaches of customary laws not covered in the penal code. 

Currently Aceh province is the only one that imposes Sharia law, but if the code is passed it could see more impose the Islamic law, which activists say could pose a risk to civil liberties, such as the mandatory wearing of a hijab, an Islamic headscarf for women.

Controversial changes to Indonesia's penal code  

Indonesia's parliament and government agreed to a final draft, of the 628-article bill on September 15, 2019 and the House of Representatives is expected to vote on it later in the month. 

These are some of the articles included in the proposed penal code that have led to a public outcry

Article 2: This recognizes 'any living law' in Indonesia, which could be interpreted to include (customary criminal law) and Sharia (Islamic law) regulations at the local level. As there is no official list of 'living laws' in Indonesia, rights groups say this article could be used to prosecute minority groups, including women and members of the LGBTQ communities   

Article 417: This would see those who partake in extramarital sex be eligible for punishment of up to one year in jail. It would affect heterosexual couples, homosexual couples and sex workers

Article 419: This part of the penal code states that couples who live together without being legally married could be sentenced to six months in prison

Article 421: This would criminalise 'obscene acts' in public with a penalty of up to six months in prison. 

Article 414: Under this section of the new bill anyone who is 'to show, to offer, to broadcast, to write or to promote a contraception to a minor' – children under age 18 – could face a prison term or fine. However, Article 416, would give some exceptions to health professionals and 'competent volunteers'

Articles 415, 470, and 471: These articles state that only doctors have the right to decide to perform an abortion. A woman who aborted her pregnancy could be sentenced to up four years in prison. Anyone who helps a pregnant woman have an abortion could be sentenced up to five years in prison. This could see those who sell or consume morning-after pills as an abortion tool,  face punishment of up to six-months in jail

Articles 304 to 309: These changes expand on the current Blasphemy Law and maintain the maximum five-year prison term for anyone who deviates from the central tenets of of Indonesia's six officially recognized religions – Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism

Article 219: criminalizes 'insults' to the president or vice president

Source: Human Rights Watch 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: The new penal code comes amid renewed religious piety and Islamist political activism in the world's most populous Muslim majority country

The new penal code comes amid renewed religious piety and Islamist political activism in the world's most populous Muslim majority country
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited


More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon