‘Stay composed’: Bali gov’t urges tourists and tourism operators not to fret about proposed criminal code changes

Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace. Photo: Humas Pemprov Bali
Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace. Photo: Humas Pemprov Bali

The Bali Provincial Government has issued a statement emphasizing that the current draft revisions of Indonesia’s criminal code (RKUHP) has not yet been passed and urging both tourists and tourism operators on the island to continue activities as usual. 

“It is a criminal code bill and not yet accepted nor confirmed as a Book of Criminal Code, therefore is not applicable nor valid,” the statement, signed by Bali Vice Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, or Cok Ace, said. 

The statement also noted that President Joko Widodo and the House of Representatives (DPR) have agreed to postpone the passage of the bill. (After massive protests led by university students in the capital Jakarta and other cities across the country, including Bali, in recent days). 

“Therefore, tourists and tourism operators may stay composed and continue activities as usual,” the Bali provincial government said. 

The statement comes in response to a slew of international headlines highlighting articles criminalizing sex outside marriage and cohabitation contained in the RKUHP, which is actually just one part of why the bill has been so controversial and heavily criticized. 

Read also: RKUHP Explainer: All the controversial articles in Indonesia’s criminal code overhaul

The potential impact of RKUHP, which will also apply to foreigners visiting Indonesia, is of particular concern to Bali, which welcomed more than 6 million foreign tourists last year. That number made up nearly 40 percent of the total number of foreign tourists traveling to Indonesia in 2018. 

Last week, the bill even elicited a response from neighboring Australia, which updated its official travel advice to its nationals to warn them about the possibility of the bill passing. 

Tourism operators have expressed concerns that the RKUHP might change travelers’ minds about coming to Bali, and instead choose other destinations in the region. 

“It will be something that they take note of, and they will be less inclined to stay in Bali and choose other countries for their holidays,” the head of Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, said over the weekend.

Teuku Taufiqulhadi, a member of the RKUHP working committee in the DPR, claimed just yesterday that foreigners “need not worry” about the articles criminalizing sex outside of marriage contained in RKUHP

According to the lawmaker, the charges can only be made by immediate family members of those involved.

 

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