'Do not believe fake video': Malaysian minister tells Indonesian football fans as clip of man being beaten goes viral

Malaysian politician Syed Saddiq on Friday appealed to Indonesians to dismiss as a hoax a video that appears to show home football fans attacking their rivals after their recent World Cup qualifier in Kuala Lumpur.

The 26-year-old Malaysian minister for youth and sport posted a clip to social media on Friday night saying he hoped the "fake" video would not inflame relations between the two neighbours, who are fierce rivals in sport - particularly when it comes to football.

Speaking in Bahasa Malay, Saddiq said: "To all my friends in Indonesia, please do not believe the hoax and slander from the video where there were [supposedly] some Indonesian fans being beaten and stabbed.

"I have made a police report and have also contacted the Indonesian police saying that the video is fake and does not have any connection with the football game between Malaysia and Indonesia."

He continued: "I hope this hoax incident will not cause problems between Malaysia and Indonesia because we are from the same root." He added that Indonesian authorities have also confirmed the video to be fake.

The video shows a man being kicked and hit with motorcycle helmets while on the ground by a group of men. The clip went viral with Indonesians claiming it was one of their fans being beaten by Malaysians after their match on Tuesday, when the home side scored a 2-0 victory. Reports in Indonesia also say one man was stabbed.

Saddiq, however, said the incident depicted in the video had nothing to do with Tuesday's clash in Kuala Lumpur. The match, which doubled as a qualifier for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, was marred by violence in and out of the stadium.

Media reports said 41 people were arrested with national news agency Bernama saying bottles, traffic cones and firecrackers were thrown by fans from both sides.

The first match of the campaign between the two teams in Jakarta in September also turned nasty after Malaysia scored a 3-2 victory.

A group of home fans reportedly abused the Malaysian contingent in the stadium, throwing projectiles, plastic bottles filled with urine and spitting at their rivals.

Saddiq was in the stadium and had to be evacuated. Indonesia later apologised for the incident and its football association was fined US$45,000 by world governing body Fifa.

This article was first published on South China Morning Post