SWATCH BAN ENCOURAGES SOME TO BUY ITEMS ELSEWHERE
A total of 164 watches, worth RM64,795 (US$13,900) were confiscated for supposedly violating the PPPA, with Swatch then contesting the ban in court.
In a statement back in May, the Justice for Sisters (JFS) group said the incident raised concerns over the increasing hostility against LGBTIQ people in Malaysia. LGBTIQ refers to those who identify as LGBT as well as intersex and questioning.
“This dangerous trend goes hand in hand with the increasing conservatism and extremism in Malaysia. One cannot be addressed without the other,” it had said.
It claimed that there was an increasing trend in the use of the PPPA in restricting LGBT-related expressions, with the ministry banning at least six LGBT-themed books under the law on broad grounds of so-called threat to public morality, order, and security.
But a Malaysian businessman who wants to be known only as Jason says he and his partner purchased rainbow-themed watches that are part of Swatch’s “pride collection” when they visited Taiwan a few weeks back, although they don’t consider the brand a favourite of theirs.
They spent about RM700 to buy two watches that are meant to show support for the LGBT community.
“We might not have bought it if it wasn’t banned in Malaysia, but the ban gave us the urge to purchase it. It is our gesture to support the rainbow and the community,” Jason, 43, who is from Kuala Lumpur, tells CNA.
The Home Ministry said in a statement on Aug 10 that anyone owning any such products produced by Swatch could face up to three years in jail or a maximum fine of RM20,000, or both, if convicted.
The ban covers all Swatch products that contain LGBTQ features including boxes, wrapping and accessories.
Jason says he and his partner have been wearing the watches out in the open and considers the seizure and ban of the watches as ridiculous.
““They can seize anything, but our identities will be the same. If you are straight, you will be the same and if you are gay, you will remain gay,” he says, adding that he has nothing to fear by wearing the watch.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)