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08 June 2023

Indonesian speaker plays down polygamy 'joke'


The speaker of Indonesia's parliament sought on Thursday to play down comments he made about all men wanting to be polygamous but being afraid of their wives, saying the remarks were just meant as a joke.

House of representatives speaker Marzuki Alie was quoted by the Jakarta Globe as making the comments at a farewell gathering for his deputy, Anis Matta.

"As a man, I have to be honest," he was quoted as saying.

"All men want it, the desire to practise polygamy exists, but (men) don't have the courage to do it. Probably because (they are) afraid of their wife, children and impact on their work."

Opinions are strongly divided on the virtues of polygamy in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, where the practice is legal but has faced some intense opposition in recent years.

When contacted by AFP, Alie said his comments had been meant as a "joke".

"My comment was made in jest, to tease Anis as he has more than two wives. We agree on many issues, except on polygamy. It's only a joke," he said.