Owners of ‘LGBT’ Swatch watches could be jailed for three years in Malaysia

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08/10/2023

Owners or sellers of rainbow-coloured timepieces made by the Swiss watchmaker Swatch face three years in prison in Malaysia, the interior ministry has said, as the Muslim-majority country rails against LGBTQ+ symbols it says could “harm morals”. Homosexuality is outlawed in Malaysia and LGBTQ+ people face discrimination. Malaysia’s law enforcement unit at the interior ministry raided Swatch stores at 11 shopping malls across the country in May, including in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, for timepieces bearing what it called “LGBT elements”. Anyone who “prints, imports, produces … or has in his possession” such items faces a jail term of up to three years, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Any individual wearing or distributing the watches could also be fined 20,000 Malaysian ringgit (£3,425), according to the ban notice.

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