A Muslim-majority country in Asia has made it an arrestable offense to buy or sell the new pride-themed Swatch watches that have been released, with a shocking punishment of up to 3 years in prison.
Confiscating the Rainbow
A shock has been sent through the country of Malaysia as the nation makes a controversial move against Swatch Group’s watches and accessories that champion LGBTQ+ rights.
Malaysia’s government cited concerns over tradition and public interest as they imposed the ban.
This fiery decision thrusts the issue of LGBTQ+ rights into the spotlight, capturing the attention of the worldwide media.
The Malaysian government’s intolerance towards LGBTQ+ rights isn’t new, and earlier this year, rainbow-colored watches from Swatch’s ‘Pride collection’ were confiscated.
A Climate of Discrimination
Malaysia’s home ministry now prohibits any LGBTQ+ references on Swatch products, including watches, boxes, wrappers, accessories, and more.
Critics argue that this not only stifles creative expression but also contributes to a climate of discrimination.
The ministry’s reason for the ban is that Swatch’s products promote and normalize the LGBTQ+ movement – a sentiment that’s not shared by the broader population.
Possessing or trading the banned items could result in severe punishment – up to three years in jail and a fine of over $4000.
Swatch Group’s response remains eagerly anticipated, with the company previously taking a stand against the Malaysian government for the previous bans, arguing that the act was unlawful and tarnished their reputation.
A recent music festival in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, was canceled due to the 1975 frontman Matt Healy kissing bassist Ross MacDonald on stage.
He Will Never Recognize LGBTQ+ Rights
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim confirmed that LGBTQ+ rights would never be recognized under his reign, contrasting with the opposition party’s push for inclusivity.
Many Muslim-majority nations share similar perspectives, and the outcome of the upcoming election here could set a precedent for other countries looking to move forward with LGBTQ+ rights.
Banning something as insignificant as a rainbow-coloured watch shows the backward views that Malaysia’s government holds and the constant struggle that the LGBTQ+ community faces in the country.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tupungato