MALAYSIA: The Malaysian home ministry has recently implemented a ban on all Swatch products that contain any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) elements, whether on watches, boxes, or wrappers.
Under the Printing Presses and Publications (Prohibition of Undesirable Publications) Order 2023, the ministry has officially gazetted this ban, targeting Swatch items deemed “likely to be prejudicial to morality.”
Individuals found in possession of such Swatch products could potentially face up to three years of imprisonment or a maximum fine of RM20,000 (approximately $4,375), or both, if proven guilty, according to Free Malaysia Today.
In a statement, the ministry said the government remained committed to curbing the spread of elements that are detrimental to the nation’s morality and public interest.
“(The Swatch products) have been banned as they are detrimental, or possibly detrimental, to morality, public interest, and national interest by promoting, supporting, and normalising the LGBTQ movement, which is not accepted by the general public of Malaysia.”
“The home ministry again states its commitment to ensuring public safety and peace by monitoring and controlling all forms of publications to curb the spread of elements, teachings, and movements that contradict the local socio-cultural setup.”
Between 13 and 15 May, the home ministry was reported to have raided 11 Swatch shops in shopping malls such as Pavilion KL, 1 Utama, Sunway Pyramid, Mid Valley Megamall, and Suria Sabah over the brand’s “Pride Collection”.
Five shops at malls in Alor Setar, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu, Johor Bahru, and Kuching were let off with warnings.
Swatch Malaysia has since filed a bid at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to challenge the government’s action in seizing 172 watches.