Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deposit for Marrying Woman

The Marriage Bill prepared by the government seemed to contain some controversial matters such as the  prohibition of Unregistered Marriage (Siri Marriage) and Contract Marriage. 

Beside that, the Bill also has a stipulation that will require a foreign man who wants to marry an Indonesian woman must pay a deposit of Rp. 500 Million. Please find below a related article in Kompas.
Getting Married with The Bond of Rp 500 Million
Rabu, 24 Februari 2010 | 13:07 WIB

KOMPAS.com — The marriage draft for the Religion Court has been quite a buzz in Indonesia. But most discussions on the draft are regarding the unofficial marriage and marriage by contract, especially whether they should be criminalized. Actually the draft has another interesting aspect: marriage with a foreigner.

Chapter VI of the draft arranges 'international' marriages. A male foreigner who wishes to marry an Indonesian woman must deposit a hefty sum of Rp.   500 million. Wow!

The draft mentions that the money is as insurance in case the husband suddenly left without notice. The money, however, isn't given to the wife, but it's deposited at an Islamic Bank.

It can be understood that  the draft was set to protect women. However, on a different perspective, this brings complications for Indonesian women who are currently involved romantically with a foreign man. If the draft is applied then the guy would be obliged to pay half a billion rupiahs to marry his love.

A number of women who are already married to foreign men initially wouldn't even believe that the draft has such an arrangement. But now they can read it on the internet.

Perhaps for some foreign men it's fine to pursue the relationship without marriage, and thus also avoiding the Rp. 500 million deposit, but in general they still view marriage seriously. And of course, obeying religious tenets is still advisable.

The Rp. 500 million deposit also gives the impression that Indonesian women are 'for sale'. A French colleague even jested, "You (Indonesian women) are quite expensive, around 45,000 euro! Wow!"

Perhaps the regulation is considered because of the number of cases that have occured, such as foreign men who married Indonesian women only to buy property in Indonesia, or expats who left their Indonesian family after their contract expires.

Isn't that instead an indication of how weak the Indonesian law is? If the officials could be bribed to allow dubious marriages then what's the guarantee that if the wife was left she could withdraw the deposit easily? It would be a pity if she was left by her foreign husband and then she gets tangled in bureaucracy and she has to bribe first to get the deposit. Furthermore, the deposit doesn't get any interest.

It's also possible for the woman to take advantage of a foreigner by marrying him for just three or four years and then dumping him to get the money.

There should be further discussion on the matter. The marriage problems between people of different nationalities go beyond material issues.

When the government issued the law of double nationality for the children of mixed-nationality marriages, that was a commendable act. The law should be made more solid and clear regarding marriage issues. (Dini Kusmana Massabuau/C17-09)

6 comments:

Rob Baiton said...

Harry...

An interesting aside to this provision is that the money must be deposited in a Sharia bank. Does this mean that only foreign men marrying Muslim Indonesian women make the deposit? Or do Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist couples also have to deposit the money into a Sharia bank?

Secondly, who gets any benefits from the deposit. Admittedly, Sharia banks do not pay interest because it is haram, but there are other 'benefits' from depositing one's money in a Sharia bank, aren't there? So, who gets the benefit that accrues during the length of the marriage?

How long is the term deposit? Once the deposit is made does it stay there until divorce or death? What happens to the deposit if the couple leaves Indonesia on a permanent basis? Do they forfeit the cash?

Think about it. If the marriage lasts only one year, then it is an expensive lesson in love for whoever deposits the money. But, if the marriage lasts 10, 20, 40, or 60 years or more, then the government is going to reap sizable profits from this little scheme.

Unfortunately, the most likely outcome here is that it will be a boon for Singapore. It will be much cheaper for couples to go to Singapore and marry. Unless of course the provision requires the deposit to be made for registration of the marriage to be valid in Indonesia.

The mind boggles!

colson said...

What's new? Life is absurd.

Some lawmakers probably had a brainstorm. They came up with several ideas for export and taxes. Now Indonesian women are one of the main assets of the country. So why not put a price tag on them?

There seem to be some loopholes however. The future wife and husband can decide not to register in Indonesia at all. Registration in the expat's home country is an easy way out I guess.

H. Nizam said...

Rob,

This is still a Bill prepared by the government subject to discussions / debates in the parliament/DPR.
Right now it is being presented to the public to get inputs.

For me, the idea of deposit for marrying someone is absurd because marriage is a private matter. As long as it is done according to the couple's religion and validly registered, then it is legitimate.
If couples want to have special arrangements they can conclude Prenuptial Agreement among themselves.

I agree with what you've said :
1) Putting the deposit with Bank Syariah may imply that it apply only for marrying a Muslim woman.
2) There would be questions about who'll get the profit from Bank Syariah (based on profit sharing);
about the term, etc.
2) It would make couples marry
unregistered either in Singapore/ other countries, or locally by Nikah Siri or kawin Kontrak.
In this case it's not appropriate to ask people whose marriage is unregistered, thus illegal, to pay deposit.

However, as I've said this is still a Bill. As usual, lawmakers would not be so naive to finalize it without any revisions.

H. Nizam said...

Colso,

Although I agree that couples would register their marriage abroad, but according to our marriage law such marriage should also be registered in Indonesia in order to be legitimate according our laws.
Note: there is high profile case here about marriage in France between Indonesian woman and French man, whereby the woman can dump the man very easily, because their marriage was not recognized here.

Angela Kirby said...

wow - never knew this.

H. Nizam said...

Angela,

Thank you for dropping by.

This is a government prepared Bill now presented to the public to get inputs, and must be discussed /debated in the parliament later.
So most likely will be changed.