KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Malaysian authorities have raided the Malaysian stores of Swiss watchmaker Swatch and confiscated items from its “Pride Collection” bearing the rainbow flag associated with the LGBTQ movement.
According to Options, the lifestyle section of The Edge business weekly, Home Ministry enforcers seized the items from Swatch outlets in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, 1 Utama, Sunway Pyramid, Setia City Mall, Mid Valley Megamall, Southkey, Sunway Putra Mall, Sogo KL, Queensbay, Fahrenheit 88 and Suria Sabah on May 13 and 14.
Stores in KTCC (Terengganu), Aeon KB, Aman Central Kedah, City Square and Viva City Kuching were also issued warning notices.
In response to the seizure, Swatch Group chief executive officer Nick Hayek Jr said the brand has consistently produced colourful timepieces to represent diversity and celebrate people from all walks of life.
“Swatch is proud of being the canvas on the wrist for all people worldwide and many artists working with us. Creativity and colours paired with Swiss-made quality is what we are loved for. We strongly contest that our collection of watches using rainbow colours and having a message of peace and love could be harmful for whomever.
“On the contrary, Swatch always promotes a positive message of joy in life. This is nothing political. We wonder how the Regulatory and Enforcement Division of the Home Ministry will confiscate the many beautiful natural rainbows that are showing up thousand times a year in the sky of Malaysia,” he was quoted as saying by The Options.
The watches were reportedly seized due links to the LGBTQ+ movement that remains taboo in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
Similar controversy emerged over news of British band Coldplay’s scheduled concert in Malaysia, which parties in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) want cancelled due to the group’s support for the LGBTQ movement.
In response to the matter, Digital and Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil then had come in defence of the group, saying that the band had also advocated for Palestine and river cleanup efforts in the country.