KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 – Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today tendered an apology on behalf of Malaysia as 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games hosts to Indonesia over an error involving the republic’s national flag. It was conveyed by Khairy at a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Imam Nahrawi here today.
“This is a very grave mistake and on behalf of the hosts, I apologise to Bapak Imam and all Indonesians over this very serious error,” Khairy told a media conference after the 20-minute meeting. Indonesia’s flag was printed upside down in a special KL2017 souvenir book. Imam Nahrawi had expressed his regrets on the matter via his Twitter account yesterday and Khairy had replied through Twitter to apologise apart from stating the mistake was unintended.
Also present at the media conference were Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan, Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar and Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (Masoc) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong.
Khairy, who is also Masoc chairman, said he had stopped the distribution of the erroneous special souvenir book and a new edition with the appropriate correction would be issued. “The new book will be sent to all honoured guests who were present at the opening ceremony last night especially Asean government representatives to replace the souvenir book containing the mistake,” he said.
Khairy also announced that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had also contacted his counterpart in Indonesia over the matter. “(Datuk Seri) Anifah told me that an official apology would be issued by the Malaysian government to the Indonesian government via their respective foreign ministries,” he said.
“The official apology will include my official apology to Bapak Imam verbally as well as in written form to express Malaysia’s regrets as hosts over the incident. I hope the Indonesian government will accept our apology in the spirit of friendship and continue to build strong ties between the two countries.
Imam Nahrawi said his government acknowledged the apology and would soon report to President Joko Widodo for further action. He also hoped that the incident would not be repeated as the flag is the symbol of a country which should be respected. “The matter will not weaken the spirit of Indonesian athletes and it should not be repeated in future,” he said. — Bernama