KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — The Malaysian flag mix-up at a basketball tournament here recently was due to ignorance and a lack of appreciation for the country, and not racism, said Umno deputy president Datuk Mohamad Hasan.
He said that the carelessness likely did not stem from a racial standpoint nor was communist in nature, but was an act of taking the country and its flag for granted.
“Although some are under the impression that the five-pointed star is an act of racism or is communist in nature, I think it is more about ignorance that stems from not caring or really loving the country.
“We take it for granted all the peace and harmony that we’ve achieved in the last few decades,” he said in a Facebook post today.
The issue came about when a ‘Malaysian flag’ with a five-pointed star was seen during a “live” broadcast of the 28th Lum Mun Chak Cup basketball competition. The flag also featured 10 stripes instead of the correct 14.
The Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) has apologised and taken responsibility for wrongly displaying the flag on its stadium screen.
The Malaysian flag has a 14-pointed star to symbolise the country’s 14 states and federal territories while the five-pointed star is reminiscent of China’s flag, which uses it to signify the country’s unification under its Communist Party.
Mohamad thanked the association for its quick apology but said it should also understand the basis of the people’s anger and suspicions over the mistake.
He said that critics took the issue to heart because the association itself is monopolised by a certain race and does not respect the country’s identity.
“The MABA’s social media account only features English and Mandarin. The posters are also in English and Mandarin. It is believed that the ceremony last night was also not conducted in the national language even though it is only a local championship for under-15s.
“Even more embarrassing is that the MABA’s apology is also only in English and Mandarin. If the MABA wants forgiveness from the people of the country, it should show a good example by respecting the national language and the Jalur Gemilang,” he said.
Despite the MABA’s apology, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the matter required further investigation, notwithstanding the MABA’s explanation over the mistake.
While demanding stern action, he insisted it was not because of political and national affiliations.