Malaysia Extends Apology for Indonesia Flag Blunder

Ashley Carr
August 22, 2017

The national women's recurve team have dedicated their gold medal to all Malaysians after beating Indonesia 5-1 at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017) today.

Malaysia apologised on Sunday for the upside-down printing of Indonesia's flag in the souvenir guidebook for the Southeast Asia Games, which officials said is being withdrawn and reprinted.

The mistake, which makes the red-and-white Indonesian flag resemble Poland's, has caused anger in Indonesia where "shameonyoumalaysia" has become the most popular hashtag on Twitter. After a brief private meeting on Sunday, the two ministers shook hands at a news conference. Khairy is planning to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo or Jokowi to personally extend an apology.

Mr Nahrawi, who earlier described the error as "very painful", said he accepted the apology.

"As the manager I had tried my best to defuse the situation and follow the procedures to register a protest according to the International Sepak Takraw Federation (Istaf) procedures but the situation was beyond control and we walked out but it was big mistake", he said.

Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi acknowledged Khairy's apology and said he hoped the incident will not be repeated.

Malaysia Extends Apology for Indonesia Flag Blunder
Malaysia Extends Apology for Indonesia Flag Blunder

"This was a big, big mistake".

Ties between Malaysia and Indonesia are generally cordial, but occasional perceived slights or when cases of an Indonesian maid being abused by a Malaysian employer come to light, passions in the republic flare up.

The creation of Malaysia when the British empire was dismantled after World War II was bitterly opposed by Indonesia, itself then a new nation emerging from Dutch colonial rule and a short-lived Japanese occupation.

Malaysia's foreign ministry and the Games organisers apologised profusely for the gaffe, but it was not enough to quell a wave of complaints online, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia becoming Indonesia's top trending topic on Twitter.

"You know, this is maybe the reason why our founding father Soekarno wanted to Kick Your Ass", said one user.

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