Indonesian lawmaker says gov’t should ban poor from holding wedding parties to save them from poverty

House of Representatives (DPR) member Dedi Mulyadi during a meeting in July. Photo: Istimewa
House of Representatives (DPR) member Dedi Mulyadi during a meeting in July. Photo: Istimewa

An Indonesian lawmaker suggested an outrageous new way to reduce the country’s poverty rate, saying that there should be a law regulating how poor Indonesians celebrate their weddings.

The idea was put forward by House of Representatives (DPR) member Dedi Mulyadi, who said that limiting the lavishness of wedding ceremonies by the poor or even ban them altogether can help to break the chain of poverty. 

“What should be made into regulation by the government is that people with low income should be prohibited from holding wedding parties because it can create a new [cycle of] poverty,” Dedi said.

The lawmaker then gave the example of how parents often feel pressured to hold lavish wedding receptions for their children, which involves borrowing money from loan sharks, while others resort to selling or pawning off their assets. 

Dedi suggested that weddings should be made simpler, and said ceremonies could be held at home as an alternative and the money should instead be used for the couple’s living expenses. 

In addition, Dedi said wedding receptions are a show-off affair, which he said is a trait belonging to the rich. 

Yes, these are actual quotes from Dedi, who was responding to an earlier statement from Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy. 

Last week, Muhadjir said that the high number of poor households in Indonesia at around 7.5 million can be traced back to members of poor families marrying each other

“Poor families become in-laws, and give birth to new poor families,” Muhadjir said. 

Earlier this year, the same minister controversially urged the Religious Affairs Ministry to issue a fatwa (religious edict in Islam) making it mandatory for rich people to marry poor people in order to elevate the latter’s social and economic status. It seems he has yet to move on from this stance.

Related: Indonesian minister wants fatwa ruling that the rich must marry the poor to combat poverty

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