Swatch files lawsuit against Malaysian government over seizure of watches from Pride collection

According to FMT, Swatch said that its 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 reportedly said. 

Polling for the upcoming six state elections – in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan – will take place on Aug 12. 

According to Malay Mail, the company said that its business and trading figures suffered in the immediate aftermath of the seizures for some time.

The case is scheduled to come up in the High Court on Thursday. 

Local media previously reported that Malaysia’s Home Affairs Ministry had seized 172 Swatch watches from outlets in 11 shopping malls over three days in May, including outlets in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. 

Meanwhile, five outlets in Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Johor and Sarawak were given a warning. 

According to FMT, the seizure came after netizens connected the watch collection to British rock band Coldplay’s support for the LGBT community. 

The announcement of Coldplay’s first concert in Malaysia, to be held this November, had earlier drawn the criticism of a leader from the Islamist party Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), who had called for the cancellation of the event in a Facebook post on May 10. 

The Facebook post was accompanied by images of lead vocalist Chris Martin holding a rainbow flag – which is used to represent the LGBT community – during a Coldplay performance at the Wembley Stadium in London.


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