Indonesian officials ordered to pay $105 for second wife

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An Indonesian district has ordered male civil servants to pay one million rupiah (S$105) to marry a second wife to crack down on polygamy, officials said on Wednesday.

But the move has been criticised by activists as a "crazy" bid to profit from the practice.

Under Islamic law, men can have up to four wives. Polygamy is legal in Indonesia, but only when the husband registers his marriages and receives the consent of his other wives.

Male officials in the country of 250 million people are required to get written permission from their superiors if they want a second wife.

But in the East Lombok district, they will now also have to pay a one million rupiah fee to the local government under a new regulation introduced last month, officials said.

Make polygamy more difficult

Mr Kharul Rizal, the head of the local parliament which passed the law, said: "The regulation was issued to make polygamy more difficult for those working in the civil service."

The fee – a large amount for the average Indonesian – is applicable to each new marriage after the first.

Women’s rights groups reacted angrily to the law saying it may actually encourage polygamy as it amounted to official approval, and that the local government was seeking to profit from the practice.

Ms Baiq Zulhiatina, the head of the local branch of the Women’s Solidarity group, told AFP: "It’s crazy polygamy has been turned into a source of government revenue."

District head Mochamad Ali Dahlan, who pushed the idea, insisted the move would help the local community.

"If a man has to contribute one million rupiah, that’s for residents here not for me. It’s a donation towards the development of our people," he said.

Source: AFP

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