Jakarta. Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi on Saturday (19/08) expressed his disappointment over a misprint in the Indonesian flag in the promotional materials distributed at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
"A great opening, but marred by a fatal, very painful negligence. Our flag… [is] Red White…" Imam said on Twitter.
Imam's tweet received a prompt response from his Malaysian counterpart, Khairy Jamaluddin, who apologized and said "absolutely no malice was intended."
Bapak Imam, Please accept my sincere apologies for this. Sesungguhnya tiada niat jahat. Saya amat kesal dengan kesilapan ini. Mohon maaf.
— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) August 19, 2017
"Mr. Imam, please accept my sincere apologies for this. There was absolutely no malice intended. I'm very upset by this error. My apologies," Jamaluddin."
As close neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia have one of the most important bilateral relationships in the region. 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.
Although a considerably small issue, the Saturday error prompted netizens to voice discontent, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia trending on Twitter.
Netizens were also quick to point out that the same error was made in a local Malaysian newspaper, which the Jakarta Globe identified as Harian Metro.
Not only the booklet but today's newspaper still uses wrong Indonesian flag??? OMG!!!#ShameOnYouMalaysia pic.twitter.com/Hd3FagJfdK — NOONAKON (@maymayrin) August 20, 2017
"I think this was very careless, very sloppy. I think it has tainted the grand ceremony of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, which was watched by millions," Imam said, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
Imam said Indonesia demands an official apology from the Malaysian government.
The Malaysia SEA Games Organizing Committee (MASOC) apologized "for the inadvertent error of publishing the wrong flag for Indonesia."
Following the incident, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released on Sunday that foreign ministers of the two countries have discussed the issue.
The Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur submitted a diplomatic note expressing Indonesia's disappointment, the statement said.
Meanwhile, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo asked Indonesians to remain calm and not to be provoked by the incident.
"Let's not exaggerate this issue and wait for the Malaysian government to officially apologize, as this is a matter of the nation's pride and our national spirit," Jokowi said in Jakarta on Sunday, as quoted on the president's official website.