Swatch CEO says no LGBT references in seized Pride watches, PM ‘misinformed’


A general view of the shop of Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch at Setia City Mall in Shah Alam. – Malay Mail photo

KUALA LUMPUR (May 26): Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek said its Pride watches seized by authorities here contained no reference to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, after the prime minister suggested this was why they were confiscated.

Yesterday, 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 Malaysian prime minister Mr Anwar Ibrahim stated in a recent interview that Swatch’s latest collection of colourful watches includes the letters LGBT on their dials. Apparently he was misinformed.

“Swatch has not included any reference to the LGBT community on the dials of this year’s Pride Collection.

“These 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,” Hayek said in a statement to Malay Mail.

Anwar offered the brief explanation yesterday when asked to comment on the confiscation of the watches, after directing questions to the Home Ministry whose enforcers were responsible for the action.

Malay Mail yesterday reported that the Home Ministry 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.

Hayak previously said the watches were seized by the Home Ministry’s Regulatory and Enforcement Division using the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

While lawyers told Malay Mail the law’s broad interpretation could be used for the seizures, these must be based on a gazetted ban of the items issued on the orders of the home minister. – Malay Mail