Malaysia Apologises To Indonesia Over Flag Blunder

Francis Osborne
August 21, 2017

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today tendered an apology on behalf of Malaysia as 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games hosts to Indonesia over an error involving the republic's national flag.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (Masoc), in a statement, apologised to all Indonesians over the unintentional mistake.

The mistake, spotted at the games' opening in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, sparked an outcry in Indonesia and the hashtag #ShameonyouMalaysia was trending on social media.

Indonesia's flag has a red stripe above a white stripe, but it was inverted, making it look instead like the flag of Poland.

Malaysian organisers were quick to apologise and the country's Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin visited Nahrawi at his hotel to explain in person.

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In the guidebook, only Indonesia's flag was printed incorrectly.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters in Jakarta the incident concerned "national pride", and called for an apology.

"But we hope this issue will not be repeated again", he said at a packed press conference. "My apologies", he said on his Twitter account in response to a tweet from Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, regarding the matter. We are investigating and will take action as the incident should not have happened.

On Twitter, Indonesians said their flag represents the sacrifices of independence heroes and accused Malaysia of either being stupid or deliberately misprinting it. Over the years, however, relations between the two countries have been strained by various issues, including claims over each other's cultural features and diplomatic frictions due to haze caused by wildfires in Indonesia.

"Of course, I am expressing my deep regret on this fault, which shows negligence and absent-mindedness", he said in a statement. "We don't want Indonesia to feel offended over this incident", he said yesterday while stating that police have not received any complaints from Indonesia over the matter.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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