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Swatch rainbow products ban shows govt's true colours

Even repressive regimes like North Korea do not jail its citizens for owning rainbow-themed watch straps.

Chong Jiun Heng
2 minute read

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 which carried the report must have misreported.

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-BN route.

This was when I tried to make sense of this crazy idea and tried searching for a logical explanation. Shortly after, I stumbled upon a tweet by lawyer-activist Siti Kasim reacting to the ban. She wrote: "Kerajaan Madani makin gila.... worse than any other government before this. More vicious." 

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

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

Perhaps Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is trying to score some political points among the Muslims in the run-up to the elections in six states tomorrow. But first of all, I don't think that any rational person – Muslim or otherwise – would 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 in Malaysia. 

What's next on the government agenda? Ban kuih lapis pelangi? Ban Paddle Pop ice-cream? Shoot at rainbows when they appear after the rain?

Is the prime minister taking the non-Muslim support for granted in the elections? Because if he is, he's no better than the PAS leaders that Pakatan Harapan (PH) vilified to us, if not worse. In fact, I have never heard of any PAS leaders asking to ban watch straps!

But 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 PH, tomorrow, for the first time, I will not vote for the coalition. It needs to be taught a painful lesson, taking us non-Muslims for granted.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.