25 Unique Laws in Indonesia – Characteristics

Indonesia is a country filled with may unique people and even more unique laws. This article contains 25 Unique Laws in Indonesia. Most of these laws have caused an outrage with the public while some are highly supported due to their effectiveness. Continue to read to find out what these laws are and what makes them to be so unique.

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1. Forbidden to Be a Beggar

It is actually against the law to be a beggar in Indonesia. Anybody who is caught begging in the public could be jailed for 6 weeks. But it seems that this law is a bit lenient to those who are really poor. This law is more harsh on people who pretends to be a beggar but owns a house and a private vehicle.

2. Forbidden to Give Money to Beggars

It is not allowed for anybody to give money to the beggars. A person who is caught giving a sum of money to a beggar could be put in jail for around 10 up to 60 days. The reasoning behind this law is thought to banish the act of begging.

3. No Buying Street Food in Bandung

Indonesia is very well known for its varieties of street food. However, buying street food has become illegal in Bandung which is the capital city of the West Java province. Any person who is caught buying the street food could be fined for around 1 million rupiah. The reason for the existence of this law is because of the street vendors seem to be ruining the beauty of the city.

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4. Women in Aceh Must Sit in Specific Way

Aceh is a province in the Sumatra Island. There has been a law forbidding the women to ride the motorcycle with their legs slightly open. The reason for this is thought to be that women are seen less ‘feminine’ when they ride the motorcycle in a similar way as the men. Another reason is to avoid any inappropriate contact between the male and the female.

5. Forbidden to Smoke in the Village of Bone Bone

Bone Bone is the name of a village in a very mountainous region of South Sulawesi. For the past 12 years, the village have enforced the law of banning smoking. Muhamad Idris, a former village chief and former smoker, came up with the idea. He wanted to change the village because there were children. He didn’t want the children to grow up and become smokers too. Bone Bone became the first village in the world to be cigarette free.

Find out more: Tobacco in Indonesia

6. Giving Garbage Instead of Paying Tax

There is a unique law in the city of Gorontalo in Sulawesi, Indonesia. It involves paying tax with garbage instead of money. Some people do not have the money to pay their taxes because they are too poor to do so. They are then allowed to bring recyclable garbage to the “garbage bank”. The garbage will then be processed into something useful again.

7. Civil Servants Must Transfer Salary Directly to Wife’s Account

This particular law applies to the people who live in Gorontalo. Those civil servants who are already married must directly transfer their salary money right into bank account of their wife. The law worked and people were happy with it. The law is meant to keep peace and harmony among families.

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8. Forbidden to Take Selfies

Taking selfies have become a social phenomenon in Indonesia. However, this trend has put a cost to the wellbeing of the tourist attractions. Moreover, these places are usually out in nature. People would trample all over grass and flower, take a couple of pictures and leave. Now, a lot of places have forbidden the act of taking selfies within a certain range.

9. Compulsory to Have a Garage When You Have A Car

In Jakarta, it is compulsory for someone to own a car to also have a garage or a driveway where they can park their car. This is to avoid having streets filled with a line of parked cars. By having a garage, the car owner can park the car where it’s meant to be parked.

10. Forbidden to Park Car in Front of Your Own House

Even though it might seem okay to park your car in front of your own house, it is actually an illegal thing to do in Jakarta. It is not allowed to park a car along the neighbourhood street. A car that is seen parking along the street will get tolled away. The reason for this is to avoid any road blockage when there is an emergency vehicle passing through such as a fire truck or an ambulance.

11. Civil Servants Must Wear Gemstone in Purbalingga

For the past years, there have been an increasingly high attention to gemstones. Purbalingga is a regency located in the southwestern part of Central Java that is famous for producing gemstones. The government has made it compulsory for civil servants to wear gemstone rings to support the local production of gemstone.

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12. No Rice Tuesday in Depok

Depok is a city located in the West Java province. At the year of 2012, the mayor of the city declared that people are not allowed to consume rice every Tuesday. This was meant to reduce the amount of importing rice. The law did not work because many people complained with health related issues. The law has been replaced by compulsory growing of cassava or corns in the citizens’ yards.

13. Forced Marriage in Purwakarta

Purwakarta is also regency in West Java. The mayor proposed that male and female who are above the age of 17 should not meet beyond 9 P.M. Breaking this law would issue 3 warnings. When those are exhausted then the people involved are forced to marry. So far there has been 1 couple who was forced to marry each other.

14. Teenagers are Not Allowed to Date in Purwakarta

The mayor of the city declared that children under the age of 17 are banned from dating. The reason for this is because the mayor wants the teenagers to focus more on school and their future instead of busying themselves with the concept of dating.

15. Indonesian Migrant Workers are Not Allowed to Divorce

This law applies to the Indonesian Migrant workers in Ponorogo. Ponorogo is a regency in East Java of Indonesia. The rate of divorce has been too high in the region. It reaches third place of the highest divorce case in Indonesia. The government sets down the law that those who are working outside of Indonesia cannot divorce their spouse.

Also read: Children Labour in Indonesia

16. Turning Off Lights During Full Moon

In Purwakarta, it is compulsory for the people to turn off the lights during the night of full moon. Lights are turned off right after the sun goes down. All the street lights in the region also go off.

17. Limited Post on Social Media

Most of the people in Indonesia are not allowed to post inappropriate pictures or words on social media. They are expected to mind their social media presence. Anybody caught breaking the law could be punished, or even jailed.

18. Teachers and Students Must Use Homemade Bags

The teachers and students in Purwakarta must make their own bags using recyclable materials. This law encourages them to love local products and to practice creativity. This will stop people to depend on imported products.

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19. Forbidden to Cause Damage to Your Own House

It is against the law to cause damage to your own house even though the property belongs to you. The damage could threat other people’s lives. The action could also cause someone to die.

20. Permission to Have Privacy in A Boarding House

According to the law, a person is allowed to deny access to the owner of the boarding house you rent. More specifically, it is okay to kick them out of the room you are renting because you have the right to privacy.

21. Responsibility on Pets’ Actions

The owner of a pet in Indonesia is fully responsible for his or her pet’s actions. This law applies to pets who pose harm or cause injuries to other people. This law could put a fine on the owner or it could also send them to jail.

22. Suing for Cancelled Wedding

In Indonesia, someone can sue his or her supposedly fiance if a wedding is cancelled. This law of suing only applies if the invitations of the wedding are already sent out. The person can sue for money losses during the whole ordeal.

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23. Students in Purwakarta Must Learn Farming

Students in Purwakarta must at least know the basic of farming. They have to own their own animals and crops. The women must know how to cook, sew or clean. The aim of this law is to keep the students to be productive.

24. Banishment of Homework in Purwakarta

This law only applies to academic homework where students are bound more to the books. Teachers are compulsory to give practical assignment to students instead of the usual academic homework. This assignment could be in the form of measuring a farming field.

25. No Smoking for Students in Purwakarta

Students are not allowed to smoke in Purwakarta. So, there are monthly check-ups in school to make sure that they are clean. The check-ups involve checking traces of nicotine or other smoking chemicals on their teeth.

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Although many of these laws have caused public outcry, there are good intentions behind some of these laws. Indonesia continues to find ways to help improve the lives of its citizens.