By Alyaa Alhadjri | Malaysiakini

Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has defended recent enforcement actions carried out without the seized items being officially banned, citing public complaints and provisions under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984.

Asked for comments on lawyer New Sin Yew’s argument that the Home Ministry had illegally raided and seized Swatch products celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, Saifuddin said: “No (issue). We have a clear source of power.”

“The relevant law. The law (PPPA) is under the purview of (Home Ministry’s) enforcement and control division.

“At the time there were (also) public complaints,” Saifuddin said during a press conference at the Home Ministry.

Previously, New told Malaysiakini the Home Ministry had acted illegally to raid 11 Swatch stores and seize 172 items from the Swiss brand’s Pride Collection – which comprises watches in various shades of the rainbow — adopted as a symbol of the LGBT community.

This follows the Home Ministry’s announcement that a ban on any Swatch watches under the collection, its boxes, accessories, or other related items — under section 7 of PPPA — was only gazetted on Aug 10, three months after the raids were conducted.

Saifuddin today pointed out that Swatch had subsequently filed a case in court to challenge the initial raids.

“They have taken it to court. So let us settle it there. I reserve further comments.

“We have the law, the source of power, there is a public complaint, and so action was taken,” he said.