A draft of a criminal code (KUHP) revision proposed by the government for debate earlier this month punishes unmarried people caught having sex, a report said on Thursday.
“It [singles engaging in premarital sex] is liable for up to five years in jail,” Wahiduddin Adams, the director general for legislation at the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said, as quoted by Tempo Interaktif online.
In the current penal code, only adultery is punishable under article 284.
Wahiduddin said that the government included non-married individuals in the proposed revision because it reflected the prevailing norms in the society.
“Our society is not like in the old penal code, that allows this,” he said, according to Tempo Interaktif.
However he said that the law could only be used if a report against an individual was filed by others who deemed they have been put at a disadvantage because of the action.
“Therefore, it cannot [be used] in a sweeping operation in the field,” he said, referring to the raids often conducted by police and officials on hotels and inns to look for unmarried couples sharing a room.
Wahiduddin said that the draft penal code revision also threatened unmarried couples living together with up to one year in jail.
Ida Ruwaida, a sociologist with the University of Indonesia, questioned the effectiveness of such articles in the penal code.
“It would be senseless if there are no regulation or control in the field,” Ida said, according to Tempo.
However, she said that the rules were not intervening in the privacy of individuals. “The intention of the government is good. This is a regulation for a social order,” she said.
Syarifuddin Sudding, a lawmaker from the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), said his political fraction had not yet discussed the matter but he agreed that they should be dealt with under the law.
“I think, it would be good if this is regulated,” Syarifuddin said.