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Swatch takes legal action against Malaysia for seizing its ‘Pride-themed’ watches

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Swatch watches. — Swatch
Swatch watches. — Swatch

Swatch, a Swiss watchmaking company, has initiated legal action against the Malaysian government over the seizure of its LGBTQ-themed watches from its stores.

The company’s decision came after 172 watches from its Pride collection, featuring rainbow-coloured designs, were seized by Malaysian officials at shopping malls throughout the country, BBC reported.

Swatch is demanding the return of the watches, valued at $14,000 (£10,700), and also seeking compensation for damages incurred.

Under both the secular and religious laws in Malaysia, homosexual activity has been declared illegal, due to which the government has allegedly taken the alleged action.

Such acts are punishable by imprisonment or corporal punishment. The Swiss watch brand, however, asserts in its lawsuit, filed at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last month, that the watches do not pose any threat to public order, morality, or legal boundaries.

Through the case scheduled to be heard later this week, according to BBC, Swatch aims to highlight that the watches merely represent a joyful and non-sexual expression of peace, love, and inclusivity.

The company has claimed that its trading reputation suffered due to the seizures and that its “business and trading figures” were adversely affected in the aftermath.

Swatch’s promotional campaign for the Pride-themed watches emphasises their vibrant and meaningful nature, describing them as “a symbol of humanity that speaks for all genders and all races”.

The lawsuit names the Malaysian home affairs ministry and government as respondents, while the Minister of Home Affairs Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has not yet publicly addressed the matter.

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