KOMPAS.com - Lawmakers in Indonesia approved changes to the country's criminal code on Tuesday, Dec. 6, introducing a sweeping and controversial legal overhaul.
Critics urged Indonesia's House of Representatives not to ratify the package - which includes measures that can punish sex outside of marriage with prison time, and outlines prison sentences for couples who live together outside of wedlock.
Members of the House of Representatives approved the bill with support from all the major parties, amid flak from critics who say that it will threaten civic freedoms in the world's largest Muslim country.
Although the criminal code has been ratified, it will not go into effect for three years.
At present, Indonesia bans adultery but not premarital sex.
Much of criminal code can be traced back to colonial rule by Netherlands
"This has been 59 years in waiting," Edward Omar Sharif, Deputy Minister for Law and Human Rights, said.
Under the bill, sex outside of marriage is punishable by one year in prison, and couples who live together out of wedlock could face six months in jail.
However, for police to be able to open a criminal probe into such acts, a family member should file a complaint.
From the time Indonesia declared independence from the Dutch, the revision of the criminal code has been a matter of discussion in the Southeast Asian nation.