21 August, 2017
Khairy and Imam Nahrawi (right) at a special media conference to offer sincere apology on the mistake that occurred in the publication of Indonesian flag in the souvenir programme of KL2017 SEA Games official opening ceremony.
Malaysia's foreign ministry and the Games organisers apologised profusely for the gaffe, but it was not enough to quell a wave of complaints online, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia becoming Indonesia's top trending topic on Twitter.
Imam expressed his regret over the error via Twitter yesterday, and Khairy replied on the same platform to apologise and state that the mistake was unintended.
It was not the only incident, as another SEA Games booklet mixed up the flags of Indonesia and Thailand in a reprint of the medals table from 2011.
The Indonesian flag features a red stripe above a white stripe.
Malaysian youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin met his Indonesian counterpart Imam Nahrawi to personally apologise.
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"(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 upside-down image of the Indonesia flag in the souvenir book became viral on social websites, besides drawing criticism from various quarters including the republic's Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, who described the error as "very painful".
Khairy also visited Imam and the Indonesian delegation this afternoon to personally convey his apologies.
"Friendship is the greatest legacy in sports, but a mistake in presenting a national identity of a nation is not justified".
He said this after witnessed the outgoing Johor police Chief Comm Datuk Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd handing over duties to the new Johor police chief DCP Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd at Johor police contingent headquarters today. "So police need to take the necessary action and ensure it does not happen again".
As close neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia have one of the most important bilateral relationships in Southeast Asia.