Flag Faux Pas: Malaysian b-ball organizations left red-faced over two incidents this week

Perak state’s Basketball Association has been left red-faced and groveling with apologies after a jersey worn by one of their players showed their state flag upside down.

Turns out, that white stripe is on top, y’all.

The upside-down flag on one of the Perak jerseys (left); and the proud tricolored banner flying as it should be, white stripe up (right).

Howard Lee, chairman of Perak’s Sports Committee, has since sent a letter to the association accepting its apology for the unintentional slight, adding that it was an error committed by a supplier down the chain and that only one jersey was affected by the gaffe.

“The team coach has promised that it will not recur,” Lee said in a statement today.

But that wasn’t the only flag snafu to plague Malaysian basketball this week.

A separate incident earlier in the week left national ball officials grimacing after an inaccurate rendering of the country’s flag was displayed on the scoreboard during an under-15 Championship game.

Rather than the 14-pointed star featured on the official national flag — representing Malaysia’s 14 states, naturally — the flag shown at the game had a generic five-pointer. And while the entire flag isn’t visible, it nonetheless appears to have something wonky going on with the 14 stripes (also a nod to the states). Look closely and you’ll see that the blue field in the offending version is only seven stripes deep, not eight.

The offending, shabby-starred flag (left); and the genuine article (right).
The offending, shabby-starred flag (left); and the genuine article (right).

Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) President Lua Choon Hann apologized over the incident and blamed the contractor they had tasked with “live streaming” the event, saying they used a distorted version of the flag while the Negaraku was played. The service provider has since had their relationship with MABA terminated.

A police report was even made over the matter, with Lua Choon being called into the Tun H.S. Lee police station for a recorded statement about the flag faux pas.

Officials at events have since been asked to check flags carefully for accuracy.

But hey, it happens to the best of us. Remember that time we accidentally messed up Indonesia’s flag in a SEA Games pamphlet? So yeah, let’s try to have a little patience for the hapless b-ball outfits. After all, no harm, no foul!


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