An Indonesian government minister has come up with a surprising suggestion to fix his nation's poverty rate – for poor people to marry the wealthy.

Co-ordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy voiced the extreme plan during a speech in capital Jakarta this week.

He said in Indonesia, there are common religious teachings about "looking for an equivalent match" but that this concept had been misinterpreted.

"What happened if poor people are looking for other poor people [for marriage]? There will be more poor households. This is a problem in Indonesia," Muhadjir said, according to the Jakarta Post.

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"The number of Indonesian households is 57.1 million, 9.4 per cent or 5 million of which are categorised as poor. If added to the near-poor households, it is about 16.8 per cent or about 15 million households."

He went as far as pushing for a "fatwa" – a ruling on a point of Islamic law – to be issued to require mixed-class marriages.

Under his hypothetical fatwa, "the poor are required to look for the rich [for marriage] and the rich should look for the poor".

He also suggested a "premarital certification programme" which would mean couples planning to tie the knot who were not financially secure would have to get a "pre-employment card" from a government programme.

"The goal is that after marriage, the couples will form economically stable households," he said.

According to the World Bank - an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries with the aim of reducing poverty - Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous nation, the 10th largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, and a member of the G-20.

It describes the nation as "an emerging lower middle-income country" which has "made enormous gains in poverty reduction, cutting the poverty rate by more than half since 1999, to 9.4 per cent in 2019".