KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — A senior official from the Home Ministry today confirmed that the seizure of over 100 watches from local stores of popular Swiss watchmaker Swatch is because of the term “LGBTQIA2S” printed on the timepieces and nothing to do with the colours of the rainbow or the word “Pride”, The Vibes reported today.
He said that the term stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit.
“We have nothing against peace, love, diversity and inclusivity which Nick Hayek (Swatch group CEO) said the collection propagates but the wording and symbols go against our regulations,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that the Home Ministry acted based on the Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 which grants the minister absolute discretion to prohibit any publication or item “prejudicial to or likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality, (or) security”.
“As a report was lodged, we had to take action based on present regulations.
“We hope talk that rainbow-coloured items will be banned are just (forms of) sarcastic humour and not a misperception of what will exactly happen,” said the official.
The unnamed source also said the seizure had no relation to British rock group Coldplay supporting of the LGBTQ movement
On May 22, Home Ministry enforcers seized 172 Swatch watches from outlets in 11 shopping malls over three days this month, with the watches mostly including the six-stripe Pride Flag in their designs.
On May 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he was told that Swatch pieces were not seized because they bore the colours of the rainbow flag, but for “LGBT elements.”
The next day, Hayek told Malay Mail that the watches contained no reference to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and that Anwar was misinformed.
He said that the colourful watches include the meaning of each pride colour (life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony, spirit) on their minute hands and two loops that form a rainbow.