Kuala Lumpur apologises over flag blunder in SEA Games souvenir booklet

Kuala Lumpur apologises over flag blunder in SEA Games souvenir booklet
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - Kuala Lumpur has apologised to Jakarta over the Indonesian flag blunder in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games souvenir booklet.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia regretted the error made by the Malaysian Organising Committee (Masoc) for the upside down publication of the republic's flag in the booklet.

"On behalf of the Malaysian Government, we would like to extend our apology to the government and the people of the Republic of Indonesia," he said in a statement yesterday.

Malaysia, he said, places importance on its close relations with Indonesia, more so as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment diplomatic relations with the republic.

In Jakarta, President Joko Widodo has called on all parties not to blow the issue out of proportion.

An online media yesterday quoted the Indonesian president as saying that although the matter was regrettable, people in the country should not overplay the issue.

"Don't exaggerate it," he said, as quoted by Detik.com.

He said the Malaysian Govern­ment, however, should formally apologise to Indonesia.

"We wait for an official apology from the Malaysian Government, as it concerns the pride and nationalistic spirit of our Indonesian people," he said.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the Masoc chairman, has also apologised to Indonesia over the error.

Yesterday, he met and handed over a letter of apology to his counterpart Imam Nahrawi at a hotel.

The two ministers then shook hands in front of a packed media conference.

Khairy, while offering his public apology, expressed his regret over the matter and was quick to admit that it was a "big mistake".

"On behalf of Masoc, I have apologised to my counterpart Bapak Imam and here I would also like to say sorry to all the Indonesians over this mistake.

"It's a big mistake but unintentional and it happened due to our carelessness," he said.

Imam accepted the apology from Khairy, whom he regarded as a very close friend, and hopes that the issue will not repeated.

"I will bring this apology forward to President Jokowi to decide on our next step. But I hope this matter has served as a lesson for everyone and will not be repeated in the future," he said.

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