Tourists Are Already Cancelling Bali Holidays Before Pre-Marital Sex Law Has Been Passed

"One client said they no longer trust coming to Bali because they are not married."

Cover image via Aeropuerto De Bali

Tourists have already begun cancelling their holidays to Bali for fear that they could be arrested for having sex before marriage

The new law, which would ban unmarried couples from having sex or living together in Indonesia, has yet to be passed.

However, if it does, couples – including foreigners – who live together without being legally married could be sentenced up to six months in prison, or slapped with a fine of IDR10 million (about RM2,980).

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Bali Villa Escapes

Despite that, when Reuters questioned lawmaker Teuku Taufiqulhadi if tourists will be persecuted for having extramarital sex in Indonesia, the parliamentarian said, "No problem, as long as people don't know."

The Australian government has since updated its travel advice, warning its citizens of the proposed legal changes.

If passed, the new law could drastically affect the country's tourism industry, which is one of its main sources of income

Elizabeth Travers, who runs 30 villas across Bali told The Daily Telegraph, "The law has not even changed yet and I have already received cancellations. One client said they no longer trust coming to Bali because they are not married."

Travers, who has faced multiple natural disasters and bombings over the years, explained that the new law could be even more damaging to the industry compared to terrorism and volcanic eruptions.

Image for illustration purposes only.

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British tourist Rose Hughes said that new law would also deter she and her boyfriend from returning to Bali.

"I understand if we can't hold hands or kiss in a temple or religious places. But I don't want to worry about doing something, a normal thing back home, and getting in trouble for it. Yes, I would reconsider coming to Bali," she said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Amid public protests, Indonesia's President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has ordered a delay in the parliamentary vote on the new law

The vote on the new penal code was meant to be due this week.

"I have ordered the Law and Human Rights Ministry to convey [my] stance to the House [of Representatives], that the passing of the Criminal Code Bill into law should be postponed and that the bill should not be passed during the current sitting period," he said in a statement, according to The Jakarta Post.

"I hope the House is on the same page about this matter so that the deliberation of the Criminal Code bill be continued (by lawmakers) in the next period."

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