Malaysia apologises to Indonesia over flag blunder

Malaysia apologises to Indonesia over flag blunder

The Indonesian flag is depicted upside down in a Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 booklet in Malaysia on Sunday. (EPA photo)
The Indonesian flag is depicted upside down in a Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 booklet in Malaysia on Sunday. (EPA photo)

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA -- Malaysia has apologised 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," Mr Khairy said.

Mr Khairy was expected to meet Indonesia's delegation to formally apologise 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 Organising Committee also apologised, saying it had been "an inadvertent error". The brochure is being withdrawn and reprinted.

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 licence.

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