SA Comedian Kevin Fraser's Response to Indonesia's New No Sex Before Marriage Law
SA Comedian Kevin Fraser's Response to Indonesia's New No Sex Before Marriage Law. Photo: Video screenshot

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s parliament approved a new criminal code on Tuesday that bans sex outside marriage – for locals and foreigners – with a punishment of up to one year in jail, despite concerns the laws may scare away tourists from its tropical shores, and harm investment.

Watch the response from South African expat and comedian Kevin Fraser:

Kevin, who is based in Australia… but is currently touring South Africa, says: “If people wanna pomp, let them pomp.”

The new code, which will apply to Indonesians and foreigners alike, also prohibit cohabitation between unmarried couples. It will also ban insulting the president or state institutions, spreading views counter to the state ideology, and staging protests without notification.

The laws were passed with support from all political parties.

However, the code will not come into effect for three years to allow for implementing regulations to be drafted.

Indonesia's parliament passes new criminal code
Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission overseeing the revision, passes the report of the new criminal code to Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, during a parliamentary plenary meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Currently, Indonesia bans adultery but not premarital sex.

Maulana Yusran, deputy chief of Indonesia’s tourism industry board, said the new code was “totally counter-productive” at a time when the economy and tourism were starting to recover from the pandemic.

“We deeply regret the government have closed their eyes. We have already expressed our concern to the ministry of tourism about how harmful this law is,” he said.

People protest against a new criminal code in Jakarta
An activist shouts slogans during a protest, as Indonesia is set to pass a new criminal code that will ban sex outside marriage, cohabitation between unmarried couples, insulting the president, and expressing views counter to the national ideology, outside the Indonesian Parliament buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Writing by Ananda Teresia and Kate Lamb