Calls for Calm Amidst Continued Rage over Flag Blunder

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The Indonesian government has asked its citizens not to overreact to the flag blunder after protests and burnings of replica Malaysian flags took place in cities across Indonesia on Tuesday.

A day earlier, hundreds of followers of various Indonesian organisations protested outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta. They accused the organisers of the KL SEA Games 2017 of deliberately depicting their national flag upside down in the souvenir booklet. 

They said the Malaysian police should investigate the incident even though apologies had been tendered by the organising committee and Putrajaya to the Indonesian government and people.

On Sunday, Youth and Sports meeting Khairy Jamaluddin met with his Indonesian counterpart, following which he said the issue of the flag blunder had been resolved.

A presidential spokesman reiterated comments made by Joko Widodo at the weekend, asking for calm. The president said the flag blunder was regrettable and the issue should not be blown out of proportion.

On Monday, 33 Malaysian websites were hacked by a group who claimed to be from Indonesia. Visitors who clicked on the affected websites found themselves re-routed to another website which showed the message “My national flag is not a toy”.

Following the Indonesian flag gaffe, netizens pointed out another flag faux pas at the SEA Games. Picture of the wrong flag used for Brunei from a synchronised swimming event was shared on social media. The flag used on the digital scoreboard appeared to be the one for Brunei’s armed forces.

Events that have clouded the KL2017 Games include incidents even before the official opening on Saturday.

On Aug 16, Malaysian football fans drew flak for insulting Singapore with chants of “Singapore dogs” during the Malaysia-Singapore Group A match.

The next day, a 27-year-old bus driver ferrying athletes was arrested for stealing a watch belonging to a Malaysian athlete and for driving without a licence.

Another bus incident occurred on Monday when two buses were involved in a crash, injuring a few squash players and resulting in the postponement of several squash matches.

On the same day, two Myanmar football fans were beaten up at the Malaysia-Myanmar game. They were punched and kicked in the face and body outside the Shah Alam Stadium. One of the fans was admitted to hospital while the other left after treatment.


Related report: Aug 21, Buses Ferrying Squash Athletes Involved in Accident, Several Injured

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