KUALA LUMPUR: Swatch Malaysia has filed a bid in the High Court to challenge the government’s action in seizing 172 watches, including the Pride Collection series.
Officers from the home ministry had seized the watches from various Swatch outlets between May 13 and 15.
Swatch was informed through the notice of seizure by the ministry that the watches have elements of promoting the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.
In its application to commence judicial review, the Swiss watchmaker claims that the seizure is illegal as the watches are not defined as a form of “publication” under the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA).
It says that under PPPA, the term “publication” is used for only documents, newspapers, books, or any materials in printed form.
“The said watches have yet to be defined as a prohibited publication, thus the officers have no powers to enter the applicant’s (Swatch Malaysia) outlets to seize them,” it says.
Swatch Malaysia says some of the models among the 172 seized watches have been sold in Malaysia for more than a year.
“No prior notice was given to the applicant by the officers, as to any complaints regarding the watches,” it says.
It also says the company’s lawyers had written to the home ministry last month demanding that the government return the watches, but it did not do so.
“The applicant also contends that the government’s action was done for improper political motives, given the state elections will be held soon.
“The minister was seeking to show his ‘Islamic’ credentials for political purposes,” the company says.
Swatch Malaysia sought a court order to compel the ministry to return the 172 watches, if its judicial review bid is allowed.
It is also seeking damages, adding that it suffered a loss of RM64,795 after the officers seized the watches.
Justice Amarjeet Singh will hear the bid to commence judicial review on July 20.
It was reported that officers from the ministry seized the Pride Collection watches, featuring rainbow colours, after social media users linked the collection to British band Coldplay’s support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.