Jun 07

Mixed Wedding in Indonesia Currently in Indonesia a bill is mulled by local conservative politicians, that foreign men who want to marry an Indonesian woman would have to pay the equivalent of USD 55.000 to the government.

Many observers and especially Mixed Couples who are willing to tie the knot in the near future are left dumbfounded. They say love don’t cost a thing. In Indonesia maybe only a small fee.

Is that the selling out of  the country’s female population to stimulate the economy? Or even smells like institutionalized prostitution?

Read on for the latest state of the union:

What’s the fuss about?

Ever since this proposal by Muslim conservatives was made public, an outcry of local women and foreign men alike followed. The bill is part of a larger marriage law reform and is intended to ‘protect local women and their children from foreign husbands who neglect their obligations of matrimonial and child support’.

Is that Financial Protection A foreign husband would be required to put up a guarantee of Rp 500 Million (currently around USD 55.000) with a local bank, if he intends to marry a Muslim woman in Indonesia. The amount would fall completely to his future wife, if the marriage would not last at least 10 years. After that period, the money would become ‘shared property’.

The proposal, which came initially out with the help of the Religious Affairs Ministry, was designed to stop foreigners from getting into fake marriages to be able to set up local businesses or buying and speculating with property in the wives name.

Currently the bill should be send into parliament for approval by end of this year.

“Marriage is pure and sacred; it shouldn’t be tainted by lust or personal interests. We want to protect our women.” was a comment by one ministry official involved in drawing the bill.

Then why are you making marriage a pure business transaction, one might ask.

But what’s so controversial?

Firstly, the bill measures with double standards. There is no intention in the bill to ‘charge’ for Christian, Buddhist or Hindu women.

Also, foreign men are wondering why only they were targeted by this bill, as it seems like yet another scam to cash in on them in a country riddled by corruption on all levels. Even local women feel alienated and sold off by their own government.

Interracial friends holding hands.  Close up of black white, male female hands.

interracial, friends, multi ethnic, african america, black, white, holding hands, love, crossed, fingers There would be no protection for foreign men from so-called ‘gold diggers’ who just want to marry them for their money. Where is the love one might ask?

And what about local men? Muslim men here are allowed to marry 3-4 wives but don’t have to put up any guarantee (besides their verbal commitment), if they are able to support them or provide for a good life for them and their children.

If they leave their families, usually its up to the woman, to provide for their children, which can be pretty hard in a developing country like Indonesia.

Does is even mean, that women here are owned by the government or the religious caste and can be simply sold or auctioned off to the highest bidder? Some women here think so; they even feel increasingly like on a ‘meat market’.

Let’s think it even further

In Singapore, maids are chosen in colorful catalogs, categorized by size, country of origin and ability to speak different languages. Will a similar thing soon happen for the marketing of Indonesian women worldwide? Maybe even agencies will be able to specialize in providing local women to foreigners, based on criteria like appearance, home province, skill set (can cook, clean the house, able to hold basic conversation or run a small business).

This way, the very cheap price of only USD 55.000 for 1 female could be easily increased by up-selling, when special skills are present, no?

Indonesian Rupiah Discount or Promotion Will it be possible, to get 2 women for the price of 1 during election year? Or buy 2, get 1 free? What other special promotions would be imaginable? Any discounts for purchasing a woman from a poorer part of the country, like Aceh or Irian Jaya? Or when paying in cash?

What do you think about this bill? Or are you a mixed couple planning to get married in Indonesia? Is it fair treatment to cut down on mixed couples who ‘live in sin’ or to give better financial security to local women who get involved with a foreigner?

Please make use of the comment form below!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

or save article to your Facebook with 1 simple click:


written by Chris

26 Responses to “Will Indonesia sell its women soon?”

  1. MindanaoBobNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris – I saw this in the news a week or so ago, and have been contemplating writing about it myself. If it happens in Indonesia, I wonder how far behind the Philippines would be. I think, frankly, that this is just crazy.

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I thought its a joke, when I first read about it, MindanaoBob. But they are really damn serious about getting that bill through in parliament. Talk about a medieval mindset.

    Let’s hope that they will fail – or not? Otherwise us single men always have a good excuse, why we don’t want to marry. ‘You are simply too expensive, honey!’ :D

  3. JurgenNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Chris, lol !!! I agree with your “excuse”…

  4. PeteNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    There was no mention about what happens if a couple gets married outside the country. I wonder if they will try and apply the same rules to marriages that have taken place in “western” countries. Will the women folk not be allowed to take their husband/family home to Indonesia without having this deposit paid. Just another example of bureaucracy gone made, made worse by a few misguided religious leaders who are out of step with the real world.

  5. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Getting married outside of Indonesia will probably be the only way to keep costs down for mixed couples in the future. Agree with you completely on that, Pete. Although there is also another Scam ongoing, already quite a while – at least in Jakarta:

    Sometimes mixed couples in a hotel or even taxi are questioned by ‘semi-official cops’ and asked for a marriage certificate, as it’s highly inappropriate to sit together in a closed room.

    So if they can’t provide this certificate, they are ‘threatened/told’ to be brought to a police station or ‘religious center’ – either way to harass them or costing them time. Some people simply pay some amount to get rid of those shady officials. This scam is widely reported and ongoing for years already. I could imagine, that the moral police would even widen these kind of actions, after a bill like above would have been ratified in parliament.

    Jurgen, yup right? What would we men be without a good excuse for the right situation. Oops, women are even better in that discipline. Ah….whatever! :D

  6. DanaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey Chris,

    I first read about this a while back and couldn’t believe it. This is going to do nothing positive for the country whatsoever in the long run. Imagine how many woman are going to jump into temporary marriages with foreigners just to get that 500 jt at the end of the ordeal. I can only imagine the horror stories that will start popping up immediately after this is passed, and will probably discourage any foreigners from wedding any Indonesian Muslim women. This type of thinking really makes my blood boil.

    At least there are ways out of this like marrying a Christian or Hindu girl. Makes me glad that I live in Bali and have a Balinese girlfriend that if I intend to marry her I won’t be subject to this “fine”. An interesting question comes to mind though. Could this be bypassed by a girl converting to Christianity before marriage? Who knows.

    Thanks for the good post Chris, hope to see you around soon.

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I’m afraid, converting is no option for a Muslim. Born a Muslim, always a Muslim. At least in Malaysia that is true. Over there, they were even fighting to bury an old man, who converted to Christianity before his death, by following Muslim customs. Even though he expressed before his death, that he didn’t want that and that he converted due to lack of faith to Islam. And even his widow was fighting for him to be buried as a Christian. No chance! So probably, if religious conservatives get it their way with this bill, this option won’t get through here as well.

    Yup, long time no see, Dana! Tonight, 11.30pm, Skygarden for 5K Bintangs? ;-)

  8. DanaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Can’t think of a specific example but I think it is possible in Indonesia to change your religion as two people need to be of the same religion to get married and the woman generally follows the man’s religion. Not 100% sure on that though.

    Always down for 5k Bintangs but that’s Saturday night man. See you then!

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Oops, my bad. Wanted to say tomorrow 11.30pm, Dana! Sudah mabuk. L-)

  10. GermNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    While the mere idea of the bill being thought of by these so-called “leaders” is ridiculous I also think that the reactions are equally ridiculous. Dana talking about marriage is ridiculous. Christian thinking up new excuses for breaking up is ridiculous. The 55k “downpayment” going to the government is also ridiculous. All proceeds should go directly to me. Then maybe I can treat you all at Sky Garden tonight! ;-)

  11. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    ‘All your base are belong to us?’ – now that makes definitely more sense, Germ! So it’s a deal with tonight then? ;;)

  12. RandallNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Good thing I got in early and avoided the Christmas rush. I married my Filippina about 9 years ago!!

  13. Nomadic MattNo Gravatar HUNGARY Says:

    I sort of already thought they did….just not legally….

  14. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Randall – lucky you! :D

    Nomadic Matt, in a certain weird way you are probably absolutely right. Lol!

  15. MariaNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    This is crazy. Is there enough outcry and public disapproval for this to even have a chance of passing? Do people in Indonesia even have a say in the political system?

    All I can say is it’s some slippery slope they are dealing with here.

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I hope as well, Maria, that this bill doesn’t get through, but so far the public outcry was limited at best (mainly in the english-speaking media).

    In Indonesia you never know, as minority groups of politic hardliners still have very loud voices. Some questionable bills came also already into reality in the past, so things are completely open from here on. If you are interested, just read here about the ‘Pornography Bill’, which is another topic going in that direction.

    Let’s hope for the best. :-?

  17. AJHInterNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    I have been married to an indonesian girl for 1 year now, and we have not registered in Indonesia yet I hope I will not be effected by this new law. My wife and her family are well looked after and such laws should not be permitted in Indo sometimes its hard to understand muslim fanactical thinking.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    AJHInter, I agree with you! But you should be fine, as it looks like that law would come into effect only in November or December, if at all. Worst case, just don’t register your marriage here then. Although I heard that in some parts of Java and other islands also, it’s made more difficult for ‘unmarried’ couples to be together in public, live in the same room or even sit together in a taxi. But there we go again, fanatical thinking and actions can probably be found everywhere, if you look for it hard enough….

  19. JocelynNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Obviously, this is a little outrageous. Its hard to think that there are places in the world who can still implement something like this.

  20. AbdulNo Gravatar SRI LANKA Says:

    i’m an asian muslim and i’m planning to marry my indonesian girlfriend. will i be affected by this new law ?

  21. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Abdul, the law is not in place yet, so far it looks like November, if ever. If you get married before a law like the one above becomes reality, you should be safe in theory. The rest is all speculation. It’s not even clear, if they judge a foreigner by his passport/religion or color of skin. If you want to avoid all troubles, marry her before or later in Singapore or anywhere abroad with more relaxed rules. Still, there is always a chance, that you will have issues, if they backdate the legislation or go after existing marriages also. Nobody know for now. Good luck and a happy marriage anyway! ;-)

  22. HelenNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    :-o Hi Guys, I am shocked to read about this and am faced with a dillemma. My 28 yr old son has been dating an Indonesian girl who is here in Australia on a student visa. They have just become “unofficially” engaged after 6 months together. My husband and myself are very sceptical about the whole thing, as she has not informed her parents who are in Indonesia and she is very unforthcoming about telling them anything at all. She is “pushing” to get married ASAP, and although she tells us she is a Christian, we very much have our doubts.If they got married here by a celebrant, then went to Indonesia to live, where doews my son stand with all this? I am genuinely cocerned about this, thanks in advance for any feedback.

  23. CallumNo Gravatar FRANCE Says:

    This is pure extortion, cannot even imagine any government interfering in marriage. I guess marriages are not made in heaven any more, it is made by being rich and stupid enough to shell out 55K.

  24. TimmyNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    They cant be serious….They will have their women and the rate of un married ladies will surely increase. I can never pay to marry someone i love. They better think twice.

  25. FungiNo Gravatar SWEDEN Says:

    Hi guys..does anyone know if this law has come threw yet?

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    So far it doesn’t seem to be legislation yet and I hope it never will become. Keep your fingers crossed! ;-)

Leave a Reply

Hey, if you want a picture to show by your comment, why not get a gravatar?

;-) :twisted: :roll: :oops: :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :evil: :cry: :arrow: :?: :-| :-x :-o :-P :-D :-? :) :( :!: 8-O 8)