The law in Indonesia is dynamic and open for recodification, actualization and harmonization to local culture and customs. On 5th December, Indonesian lawmakers passed a new criminal code, heavily criticized by foreign news agencies for the ban on extramarital sex. The new criminal codes (“NCC”) have led economists to note the potential negative impacts on investment in Indonesia, specifically in the tourism business sector as the law also applies to foreign tourists.
In fact, the new criminal code does not literally ban extramarital sex. According to Article 411 par. 2 of the NCC, extramarital sex cannot be prosecuted unless it was based on a report from the spouse of a married person or a report by the parents or children of the unmarried person. This means that neither the government nor a random person can file a criminal report against the perpetrators. Moreover, it is difficult to prove someone has engaged in a sexual activity unless it was performed in a public place or published digitally.
Who will be affected by the new code?
There are fears the new law will impact business owners and potentially scare foreign tourist away from visiting Indonesia, including the world’s most favorable tourist destination, Bali. Article 411 NCC re. Adultery can be applied to local and foreign offenders, not the business owners. Furthermore, article 411 only can be prosecuted through a criminal report filed by the spouse or direct family relatives. In this case, the NCC’s provisions on adultery should not impact the tourism business sectors.
Will the hoteliers need to ban extramarital couples?
To date, there is no law in Indonesia that requires hoteliers to ban an extramarital couple.
How did the bill pass and what happens next?
The bill passed on Monday, 5th December 2022, when lawmakers from across Indonesia's political parties agreed on its content. It will first go through a transition period as the previous code is phased out. According to the deputy minister statement in local media, the new law would not be applied immediately and this would take up to three years.
There are many false reports about the NCC, with many foreign media outlets highlighting the provisions of the law, creating the impression that the Indonesian government prohibits extramarital couples from visiting Indonesia. In fact, there is no regulation in Indonesia that bans extramarital couples from booking hotels or enjoying local tourism in Indonesia.
We believe that the NCC will not impact tourism in Indonesia. Instead, it will attract more investors to invest in Indonesia thanks to the progress in law development that provides ease of doing business for foreign investors, as reflected in the Omnibus Law.
How Schinder Can Help
Schinder Law Firm is a leading corporate law firm in Indonesia, practicing commercial dispute and general corporate matters, which covers law compliance services. Our team of corporate lawyers and dispute lawyers have forged a reputation for assisting various clients across the globe. As Indonesian business lawyers, we have extensive experience providing daily legal services in various commercial contract areas, as well as law and regulatory compliance. If you have inquiries related to NCC compliance, please feel free to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Budhi Satya Makmur