PETALING JAYA: Swatch has dismissed claims by the home ministry that it only seized watches with the letters “LGBTQ” inscribed on the face during raids on its outlets earlier this month.
A spokesman for Swatch Malaysia said the ministry seized timepieces from its “Pride Collection” and other collections too, New Straits Times reported.
“The latest collection displays the words: ‘nature, growth, life, passion, healing and spirit’ on the second hand to symbolise equality.
“Six of them are from the new 2023 rainbow flag-inspired collection, while another three models are from a previous collection,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.
Earlier today, FMT reported that a home ministry source claimed that authorities had only seized watches with the letters “LGBTQ” inscribed on the face during its raids on Swatch outlets.
LGBTQ refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ministry did not seize the watches just because they had rainbow colours, adding that if that were the case, they would need to “seize Paddle Pop ice creams” as well.
On May 13 and 14, the home ministry was reported to have raided 11 Swatch outlets in various malls nationwide, including Pavilion KL, 1Utama, 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.
The raid reportedly came after social media users linked the collection to British band Coldplay’s support for the LGBT community.
On Friday, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek was reported to have said that the watches seized by the ministry did not contain any reference to the LGBT community.
He disputed Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s statement that the watches were seized due to LGBT elements, stating that the prime minister was misinformed.
Hayek said there were no references to the LGBT community featured on the watches.
Meanwhile, the home ministry has refused to return the watches seized during the raid, prompting Swatch to threaten legal action to seek the return of its timepieces.