Foreign men marrying Indonesian women and a $50,000 security guarantee.
The initial draft of a bill on religious marriage law to be put forward to the parliament this year is said by some to contain a clause that would require foreign (Muslim) men wishing to marry Indonesian (Muslim) women to make a deposit of 500 million rupiah (about $50,000) into a sharia bank account as a guarantee, in case they later desert their wives and any resultant children and return to their home countries.
The draft bill, which is called in its full glory Rancangan Undang-undang (RUU) Hukum Materiil Peradilan Agama Bidang Perkawinan, but is sometimes mentioned in the media as RUU Nikah Siri, RUU Peradilan Agama, or RUU Perkawinan, is meant to be a clarification and strengthening of the original Marriage Act of 1974.
The bill, in general terms, says men, foreign or Indonesian, are required to provide monetary support to estranged wives until divorce papers are finalised, and to any children under the age of 21. The $50,000 dollar guarantee is an attempt to prevent foreign men from avoiding these obligations by leaving the country.
Foreign women wishing to marry Indonesian men will not be required to make similar arrangements, however like men they are expected to get permission from their countries of origin to marry.
Minister of Religion Suryadharma Ali, whose office is responsible for having prepared the draft, says the Department of Religion had heard of a number of cases in Jepara, Central Java, where foreign furniture businessmen had arranged to acquire Indonesian brides, and once their dealings in the town were done deserted their local wives. detiknews
Actress Ratu Felisha, married to Dutchman Jules Korsten, is one who is supportive of the idea, saying that Indonesian women will thereby be protected in mixed marriages, although she worries that some jobless women might deliberately seek out foreign men to woo, in order to have access to the money later. detikhot
Meanwhile Julia Perez, who was once married to Spaniard Damian Perez but now gets around with Argentinian Gaston Castano, is vociferously opposed, imploring the government to reconsider the plan. solopos
Another actress, the gorgeous Feby Febiola, who is married to somebody called Bruce Deltail from France, says the impression given is that the government is selling Indonesian women, at the right price, and further that not all bules in Indonesia have that sort of money lying around.
Another controversial proposal in the bill includes sanctions of up to six months imprisonment for Muslims carrying out nikah siri informal marriages, which are not later registered with the Department of Religion. This aspect of the bill has excited the most controversy, which has caused Minister of Religion Suryadharma Ali to state that it is only a draft, and will likely be revised before being put to parliament.