Malaysian FM Apologizes to Indonesia for Flag Blunder


AUGUST 20, 2017

Jakarta. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman issued a statement of apology on Sunday (20/08) regarding the misprint of the Indonesian flag in the promotional materials distributed at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

"On behalf of the Government of Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to express regret for the inadvertent error made by the Malaysian Organizing Committee [MASOC] for the wrong publication of the Indonesian flag," the statement said.

The mistake was spotted by Indonesia's Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, who then took to Twitter to express his disappointment.

Imam's tweet received a prompt response from his Malaysian counterpart, Khairy Jamaluddin, who apologized through the social media platform and said "absolutely no malice was intended."

The error on Saturday also triggered netizens to voice their discontent via Twitter, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia posts.

According to Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jamaluddin met with Imam on Sunday "to explain the regrettable error and convey his apology on behalf of the MASOC."

In the statement, Aman emphasized that "all measures have been taken to address this unfortunate situation" and reassured that "Malaysia places importance to its close and deeply rooted fraternal relations with Indonesia."

This year, Indonesia and Malaysia celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Aman also expressed hope that the countries will continue to "interact closely together" and "strengthen the ties between us and within the region as a whole."

As close neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia have one of the most important bilateral relationships in Southeast Asia. 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.