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Purwakarta limits dating hours, threatens forced marriage

Jakarta Post - September 7, 2015

Arya Dipa, Bandung – The Purwakarta regional administration in West Java has recently issued a regulation that bans premarital dating after 9 p.m., suggesting that those who break the curfew get married or break up.

"This is to prevent unwanted pregnancy," Regent Dedi Mulyadi told The Jakarta Post via phone on Friday, adding that if those aged above 20 years old violated the regulation and refused to get married then it would be suggested that they break up.

He said the subdistricts' public order officers were obliged to warn couples who violated the regulation three times before inviting their families and advising them to get married.

"Visiting hours are restricted to before 9 p.m. because it's already the time to have a rest," said Dedi, who recently delivered a cultural speech in front of the world's young leaders forum at the UN headquarters in New York.

In various interviews, Dedi has said that public order officers would raid couples who were dating after 9 p.m.

In contrast to the less forceful "advising", in a recent interview with tempo.co, Dedi said couples "would be forced to get married [if found dating after the time limit]".

He said the regulation was also aimed to prevent obscenity and unwanted pregnancy cases, which damaged parents' dignity, and the high rate of maternal and baby mortality due to abortions in the province.

The national maternal mortality rate, according to the Health Ministry, is 359 out of 100,000 childbirths, a high figure compared to other Asian countries. The figures for the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand are 94, 48 and 40 out of 100,000 childbirths, respectively.

According to data from West Java Health Agency, maternal mortality in the province in 2014 was over double the national average; 748 out of 100,000 childbirths. Teenage mothers being physical unprepared has been blamed as one of the causes of the high maternal mortality rate in the province.

The new regulation No. 70/2015 on cultured villages, according to Dedi, was also intended to prevent children under 16 years of age riding motorized vehicles.

"If they are caught riding motorcycles while dating they will be taken home by the subdistrict security officers and the regulation will be discussed with their parents," Dedi said.

Dedi said the dating-hour restriction would be applied starting in October in five out of the province's 192 subdistricts. The five villages include Cilandak, Linggamukti, Cilingga, Mekarjaya, Cibeber and Sukamulya.

The five were selected because they were considered to still uphold the original cultures and traditions that prioritize customary law. The establishment of these cultural villages, Dedi said, was based on the thinking of the subdistrict heads and their respective development consultative bodies.

The regulation, according to Dedi, dealt with various aspects of inter-community relations, environment management, forest logging, water resources and security at the subdistrict level.

Separately, Cilandak village head Dadang Zakaria said that his administration began preparing 18 months ago for the subdistrict regulation as mandated by the regent regulation.

He said his people were ready to implement the policy. "We have many rented houses here. We don't want unwanted things being committed here," Dadang said.

He said all access to the village would be gated and officers would ask ID cards for those who wanted to visit their lovers. "If it is pass the curfew time we will ask the male lovers to leave."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/09/07/purwakarta-limits-dating-hours-threatens-forced-marriage.html