The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) says unmarried couples getting jailed for checking in to a hotel room simply does not check out, as such a morality-based law would bring negative consequences to the tourism industry.
Amid renewed discussions on the draft revision to the country's criminal code (RKUHP), PHRI has expressed particular concern at an article in the bill that criminalizes premarital sex. Though we don't have the exact stat on this, it's well established that one of the reasons that hotels exist is to give space for people – married or otherwise – to get their freak on.
"It is counter-productive for the tourism industry, when people who are in one hotel room without the bonds of marriage are criminalized," PHRI Chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani said yesterday.
"The implication can be that foreign tourists will eye other countries, potentially decreasing the number of tourists coming to Indonesia."
RKUHP has been discussed in parliament for several years. Article 415 – one of the most controversial – states that premarital sex or adultery would be a crime punishable by up to one year in prison, provided that charges be made against the offending party by either the spouses, parents, or children of those involved.
Technically, should the bill pass, unwed couples can still check in to a hotel and would not face any jail time – as long as they're not caught.
Deputy Minister of Justice and Human Rights Edward Omar Sharif Hariej this week reignited the narrative that RKUHP must be passed imminently to replace an outdated criminal code. The ministry previously said the bill may pass before the end of the year.
Civil groups and activists are less than enthused about RKUHP due to the existence of several problematic and potentially draconian articles, such as jail time for insulting heads of state and for cohabitation.