Indonesia accused Malaysia of “fatal negligence” after the Indonesian flag was printed upside down in a guidebook for the Southeast Asian Games. The gaffe triggered an outcry, with the hashtag #ShameonyouMalaysia trending on social media.
The embarrassing incident concerns “national pride,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters in Jakarta, calling for an apology.
The Indonesian flag features two horizontal bands, with red on top and white underneath. Turning it upside down makes it resemble the flag of Poland.
Indonesian Olympic Committee Chairman Erick Thohir said the mistake “shows negligence” and demanded the guidebook, distributed to VIPs at Saturday’s opening ceremony of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, be removed and a new, correct version released.
“Friendship is the greatest legacy in sports, but a mistake in presenting a national identity is not justified,” Thohir noted.
Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi was also up in arms over the national flag blunder, posting pictures of the mistake on Twitter.
“It was a good opening ceremony but spoiled by this fatal negligence that was very painful,” he wrote.
“There was no malice intended,” the Malaysian Minister for Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin, tweeted, offering an apology.
The Malaysian Organizing Committee has also apologized, saying this was “an inadvertent error.”
“We very much regret the mistake,” it said in a statement.