Malaysia Apologizes to Indonesia Over Flag Blunder at SEA Games

By Reuters 20 August 2017

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA — Malaysia has apologized to Indonesia over the upside down printing of the Indonesian flag in a souvenir guidebook handed out at the opening of the Southeast Asian Games.

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

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

Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi also expressed dismay, posting pictures of the mistake on his Twitter account.

“It was a good opening ceremony but spoiled by this fatal negligence that was very painful,” he said.

His Malaysian counterpart, Khairy Jamaluddin, tweeted an apology.

“There was no malice intended,” Khairy said.

Khairy was expected to meet Indonesia’s delegation to formally apologize on Sunday.

Indonesia’s flag has two horizontal bands with red on the top and white underneath. Turning it upside down, makes it look like Poland’s flag.

The Malaysian Organizing Committee also apologized saying it had been “an inadvertent error.”

The flag blunder was the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents at the regional sports meet.

Last week, a bus driver ferrying the Myanmar women’s football team was arrested on suspicion of stealing a watch and for not possessing a driver’s license.