Jakarta (dpa) – Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Ministry on Thursday urged a local government to revoke a law requiring civil servants to pay over US$80 to have a second wife.
The East Lombok district on Lombok island recently issued a regulation requiring civil servants to pay one million rupiah (about US$82) before they can marry another woman, in a move it said was aimed at discouraging polygamy.
“They should revoke the law,” said the ministry’s head of Islamic guidance, Muhammadiyah Amin.
“They can’t just make regulations like that because there’s already a regulation on the matter,” he said.
A man can marry more than one woman in Indonesia under certain conditions, including getting permission from his first wife.
Civil servants are allowed to get a second wife if they also have permission from their superiors.
East Lombok district chief Ali bin Dahlan defended the law, saying it protects women.
“If I had not issued the regulation, it’s easy for them (men) to engage in polygamy,” Dahlan was quoted as saying by the Kompas.com news website. “Now it’s difficult and I have also refused to give permission.”
Islamic rules allow a man to have up to four wives, provided that he can treat them fairly.