“Blatantly unlawful”: Lawyer cries foul over Swatch raid, supports call to sue ministry

A LAWYER has thrown brick bats at the recent raid on Swatch stores nationwide that had led to the confiscation of products celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Calling the raid “blatantly unlawful”, lawyer New Sin Yew noted that the raid was done under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

“[But] for the Home Ministry to conduct the raid, there must first be a ‘prohibited publication’,” New pointed out on Twitter.

“‘Prohibited publication’ means a publication that is prejudicial to public order, morality, security, public or national interest.”

New Sin Yew (Pic credit: AmerBON, Advocates)

He added that in order for such raids to take place, the home minister must first issue an order declaring the Swatch “Pride Collection” a “prohibited publication” which may then be challenged in court as “irrational, arbitrary, and unconstitutional”.

“This order must then be published in the gazette. However, there was no such order. The Attorney-General’s Chambers’ website doesn’t show any gazette to this effect,” he asserted.

The Home Ministry officers had raided Swatch stores nationwide, including at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, One Utama, Sunway Pyramid, Setia City Mall, Mid Valley Megamall, Mid Valley Southkey, Sunway Putra Mall, Sogo KL, Queensbay Mall, Fahrenheit 88 and Suria Sabah on May 13-14.

Five Swatch stores in Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Johor and Sarawak had received warnings, according to a report by The Edge business weekly.

“Swatch should sue [the Home Ministry] and all the officers responsible for acting with such impunity,” New added.

Yesterday (May 24) Reuters had quoted Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger as saying that Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek will be pursuing legal proceedings to retrieve the confiscated rainbow-themed “Pride Collection” timepieces that were confiscated by the Home Ministry.

Hayek further expressed disappointment and concern, and stressed that the watches’ message of “peace and love” was not harmful to anyone.

The raid reportedly came after netizens linked the collection to British rock band Coldplay’s support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The rainbow watches are part of the Swiss watchmaker’s “Pride collection” which was designed to honour the pride movement and its message of equality and diversity.

The rainbow flag symbolises the LGBT movement which advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons. – May 25, 2023


Main pic credit: The Edge

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