An Overview of Recent Indonesian Laws on Cohabitation

img Hafidz Bukitvista | March 23, 2023

Hi, there! It’s Hafidz here. I’m delighted to share my insight about recent Indonesian laws in cohabitation. Many hours I’ve spent here at Bukit Vista studying the rental property market and issues in the industry. If you’re a property owner who lives outside of Indonesia, you might be concerned about this topic. We wrote this article to provide clarity to you about Indonesian law, so that you get clear and accurate information.

cohabitation law in indonesia
Sourece: https://unsplash.com/@tgrossen

Recently, the Indonesian government passed the Criminal Code Law (UU KUHP), which includes an article that regulates cohabitation or living together outside of marriage. It has caused concerns for tourists who plan to visit Bali and raises questions about whether it will impact the number of foreign tourists visiting the island. This new law applies to everyone in Indonesia, including tourists.

The article that regulates cohabitation is in Article 412, paragraphs (1) and (2) of UU KUHP, which states that anyone who lives together as husband and wife outside of marriage can be punished with a maximum imprisonment of 6 months or a maximum fine of category II, which is IDR 10 million. This applies if there is a report from the husband or wife for people bound by marriage or parents or children for people not bound by marriage. The law will come into effect three years after the date of enactment.

Central and provincial governments guarantee the privacy of guests

Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster. Source: https://infopublik.id/kategori/nasional-politik-hukum/693419/ini-jaminan-gubernur-bali-untuk-privasi-wisatawan-di-kuhp

Bali governor, Wayan Koster, has stated that this new law doesn’t pose a risk to tourists. He emphasized that the Bali Provincial Government respects the privacy of both domestic and foreign tourists regarding the article on adultery or sex outside of marriage, which is regulated in the Criminal Code Law (UU KUHP). He also assured that there would be no marital status checks when checking in at tourist accommodations, and the confidentiality of data on tourists staying at tourist accommodations would be guaranteed.

Moreover, Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly, stated that the Criminal Code Law would not reduce the privacy of foreign tourists as the culture of Indonesian and foreign cohabitation is different. He clarified that the regulation only applies if there is a report from a legal person or husband and wife.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno encouraged foreign tourists to visit Indonesia. He reminded them that Indonesia has various tourist destinations, including Bali, and that the Indonesian government is committed to ensuring the privacy and safety of both domestic and foreign tourists

Good growth signal for Bali and Indonesia tourism

Number of Foreign Visitor to Indonesia and Bali, 1996-2022. Source: Central Agency on Statistics Data Bali (BPS Bali)

Despite concerns about the new law, tourism in Bali is starting to grow again after the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of visits will continue to increase to 2.1 million visitors by 2022 (Central Agency on Statistics Data). Areas such as Canggu, Ubud, and Seminyak are becoming crowded with tourists, and room occupancy rates are rising again.

As one of Bali’s leading property management companies, Bukit Vista provides various accommodations from villas, guest houses, resorts, and apartments that can be rented daily or for the long term (monthly or yearly). 

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the new Criminal Code Law (UU KUHP) has raised concerns for tourists in Bali, government officials have reassured tourists that it will not affect their privacy and safety. Tourists are encouraged to continue visiting Bali and other destinations in Indonesia. 

So, Bali property owners have every reason to remain optimistic despite the challenges posed by new laws and the pandemic. While there may have been a decrease in guest visits in the past, the good news is that guest visits began to increase again last year, signaling a bright future ahead.

With this in mind, property owners are urged to take action to prepare their accommodations to welcome guests and provide them with a memorable experience. This can involve renovating and upgrading properties, investing in marketing and advertising, and other measures to ensure guests feel valued and appreciated. By embracing these opportunities and rising to the challenge, Bali property owners can tap into the increasing number of guests visiting Bali and position themselves for success.

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