Lawmakers in the Southeast Asian country of Indonesian Tuesday unanimously passed a new criminal code, making sex outside marriage a criminal offence.

The new code also bans living together before marriage, apostasy and provides punishments for insulting the president or expressing views that are contrary to the national ideology.

Lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto – who led the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the colonial-era code – said: “All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law. The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”

Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. 

It has seen a rise in religious conservatism in recent years. Strict Islamic laws are already enforced in parts of the country. Even in the semi-autonomous Aceh province, alcohol and gambling are banned and public floggings take place for a range of offenses including homosexuality and adultery.

Critics say the new code, which also applies to foreign residents and tourists, would not only threaten human rights and personal freedoms but would also affect the travel industry adversely. 


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