“Swatch ban spurs allegiance switch”

Letter to Editor

I HAD to do a double take when I first came across news that the Madani government is going to ban all Swatch timepieces that carry the LGBTQ theme. My first reaction was that the news portal that carried the report must have misreported it.

But when I came across more and more news outlets carrying the same narrative, I realised this was for real, and a sense of surrealism started to descend upon me. I thought, oh no, this Madani government which I had repeatedly voted for in the past four general elections, is going down the UMNO-Barisan Nasional (BN) route. 

This was when I tried to make sense of this crazy idea and search for a logical explanation. Shortly after I stumbled upon a tweet by lawyer-activist Siti Kassim reacting to the ban. She wrote: 

The “worse than any other government” bit hit home. It was like a heavy punch landed into my gut and it dawned on me that this government is not just any better than its predecessors, but seems worse!

Even repressive regimes like North Korea do not jail their citizens for owning rainbow-themed watch straps. Pray tell, how can owning a watch strap be “prejudicial to morality”? I can ponder this until eternity, but I’d never be able to wrap my head around this concept. 

Perhaps Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is trying to score some political points among Muslims in the run-up to the elections in six states tomorrow. First of all, I don’t think any rational person, Muslim or otherwise will support this ban for what it is.

Secondly, let’s not confuse homosexuality with owning a watch strap. Those are two separate things. Most of us know that homosexuality is illegal under the law in Malaysia. 

What’s next on the government’s agenda? Ban kuih lapis pelangi (rainbow layer cake)? Ban paddle pop ice cream? Shoot at rainbows when they appear after the rain?

Is the PM taking non-Muslim support for granted in the elections?

If so, his behaviour is comparable to or even worse than the PAS leaders whom the previous administration criticised. Interestingly, I can’t recall any PAS leaders ever advocating for the prohibition of watch straps!

However, if there is anything good that comes out of this, it is the fact that the unity government has now shown its true colours and after decades of supporting Pakatan Harapan, tomorrow, for the first time, I will not vote for the coalition anymore. 

It needs to be taught a painful lesson, taking us non-Muslims for granted! – Aug 11, 2023



Chong Jiun Heng
Kota Damansara 

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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