Premarital sex is now a punishable offence in Indonesia.
For context, premarital sex is sexual activity which is practiced by people before they are married.
Indonesian lawmakers have unanimously passed a sweeping new criminal code on Tuesday, December 5 that criminalizes sex outside marriage, as part of a tranche of changes that critics say threaten human rights and freedoms in the Southeast Asian country.
The new code, which also applies to foreign residents and tourists, bans cohabitation before marriage, apostasy, and provides punishments for insulting the president or expressing views counter to the national ideology.
“All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law,” said lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto, who led the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the colonial-era code. “The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”
In a news conference Tuesday, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said he hoped that Indonesians understood that lawmakers had done everything they could to accommodate “public aspiration.”
He said it wasn’t easy for a multicultural and multi-ethnic country to make a criminal code that “accommodates all interests” and invited dissatisfied parties to submit a judicial review to the constitutional court.
The world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia has seen a rise in religious conservatism in recent years. Strict Islamic laws are already enforced in parts of the country, including the semi-autonomous Aceh province, where alcohol and gambling are banned. Public floggings also take place in the region for a range of offenses including homosexuality and adultery.