(PM) – The proposed law targets people who have premarital or extramarital sex, possible sentencing them with six months to one-year jail time.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo puts on hold a parliamentary vote on a new penal code criminalizing gay and premarital sex following the public outcry.
He emphasized that the bill should not be voted on by members of the current House of Representatives, whose terms will end in early October, and the bill should be deliberated on by the incoming lawmakers.
“After hearing from various groups with objections to aspects of the law, I’ve decided that some of it needs further deliberation,” President Widodo said in a televised press conference.
He also stated that the justice minister has been told to convey my views to parliament and that ratification of the criminal code should be postponed and not passed in the current session.
The vote had been due next week with the revisions also including penalties for insulting the president’s dignity and a four-year jail term for abortions in the absence of a medical emergency or rape.
Australia, one of the biggest Indonesian trading partners, has issued travel advice for its citizens, warning its citizens of risks they may face from premarital or extramarital sex in Indonesia if the new laws take into effect.
The Indonesian president has ordered the justice minister to review the bill before it is being deliberated on by the incoming lawmakers.
The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, a non-government organization, welcomed the delay and urged the government to set up an expert panel to ensure a new draft is in line with the principles of constitutional democracy and has wide public support.