KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim earlier today sidestepped reporters' queries about the controversial seizure of Swatch watches by the authorities, saying any attempt to get an explanation should be directed towards the Home Ministry.
Responding briefly to reporters who tried to stop him as he was rushing back to Parliament, Anwar said he did not have enough details to comment on the confiscation of over one hundred watches that are part of the Swiss watchmaker's Pride collection, which the home ministry claimed "promotes" lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.
"Let KDN explain because I don't have enough details [about the case]," he said, referring to Home Ministry.
"The only fact I know is that the confiscation was because the watches had LGBT symbols, not because of the colours."
Despite Anwar's reply, the Home Ministry has not responded to the media's request for an explanation of the seizure since reports surfaced of the issue.
Malay Mail reported earlier today that the Home Ministry seized 172 Swatch watches from outlets in 11 shopping malls over three days, with the watches mostly including the six-stripe Pride Flag in their designs.
On May 13, two locations — Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and the 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya — had 20 and 25 watches confiscated respectively, while 19 watches each were seized from Sunway Pyramid and Setia City Mall which are both in Selangor.
On May 14, three locations in Kuala Lumpur had Swatch watches seized (Mid Valley with 22, Sunway Putra with 15, Sogo KL with 14) and 12 seized in Southkey in Johor Baru.
On May 15, six watches were seized from Queensbay in Penang, Suria Sabah in Kota Kinabalu (eight), and Fahrenheit 88 in Kuala Lumpur (12).
As for five locations which were given a warning on May 14 and May 15, these are KTCC Mall in Kuala Terengganu, KB Mall in Kelantan, Aman Central in Kedah, City Square in Johor Baru, and Viva City in Kuching.
Using just the cheapest retail price of RM365 among the seized watches, the total seized value of the 172 watches would exceed RM62,000 at the very least.
When contacted by Malay Mail, Swatch declined to comment on the case of the watch seizures, but said its "legal department is taking care of it".