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Malaysia says sorry for flag gaffe

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s Southeast Asian Games organizers have apologized to Indonesia after its flag was printed upside-down in a souvenir magazine, prompting a scathing response from the team and anger on social media.

Malaysia’s Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was also due to apologise in person to his Indonesian counterpart after the magazine was handed out to dignitaries at Saturday’s opening ceremony.

Indonesia’s flag has a red stripe above a white stripe, but it was printed with the white stripe on top – which made it look like the flag of Poland.

“We would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Indonesia for the inadvertent error of publishing the wrong flag for Indonesia,” SEA Games organisers said in a statement.

“We very much regret the mistake and trust the strong bond between the two countries will further strengthen in the spirit of the SEA Games,” they added.

Indonesia had been quick to point out the mistake, with their Olympic committee chief, Inter Milan president Erick Thohir, slamming Malaysia’s “negligence”.

“Of course, I am expressing my deep regret on this fault, which shows negligence and absent-mindedness,” he said in a statement.

“Friendship is the greatest legacy in sports, but a mistake in presenting a national identity of a nation is not justified.