Bali Laws: Aussie travelers warned as Indonesia bans sex outside marriage

Indonesia’s parliament has passed a penal code outlawing extramarital sex with a penalty of up to a year in prison, part of a series of legislative changes critics say undermine civil liberties in the world’s third-largest democracy.

The controversial new laws, which apply to Indonesians and foreigners alike, also include a ban on insulting the president or state institutions and expressing views that run counter to state ideology.

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Lawmakers welcomed the passage of the Penal Code, the revision of which the Southeast Asian nation has been discussing since independence from the Dutch.

“The old code is part of the Dutch heritage … and is now irrelevant,” Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission responsible for revising the code, told lawmakers.

The approval comes despite business groups warning it could damage Indonesia’s image as a tourism and investment destination.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has seen a surge in religious conservatism in recent years, with legal experts suggesting new morality laws and a separate customary law article strengthen discriminatory and Sharia-inspired statutes at the local level will.

Opponents of the bill have highlighted articles they say are socially regressive, restrict freedom of expression and represent a “major setback” in ensuring that democratic liberties are respected after authoritarian leader Suharto was overthrown in 1998.

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What to expect from Harry & Meghan’s Netflix series–c-9077367 Bali Laws: Aussie travelers warned as Indonesia bans sex outside marriage

James Brien

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