Malaysians celebrated 63 years of independence yesterday by filling social media feeds with “Merdeka” posts, then two politicians drew criticism for posting inaccurately drawn Malaysian flags.
One of them was International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali, who was widely criticized for posting a photo of the Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory) designed with six less stripes and a star that was short of one point. He was slammed for “disrespecting” the national symbol, which is supposed to comprise 14 stripes and a 14-pointed star.
“13 point star and 8 stripes. Azmin Ali should be arrested for treason and his citizenship revoked. This is 100% disrespect for Jalur Gemilang,” Twitter user @Tristupe wrote online. It is a crime to tweak the look of the Malaysian flag.
The post also showed a photo of Azmin with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin along with the words “Happy 63rd Independence Day.” It is no longer up on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as of this morning. The 56-year-old has not publicly addressed the mistake.
People also called out Ahmad Maslan, a member of the United Malays National Organisation, for displaying a flag that was short of three stripes.
“Sir, that is not the Malaysian flag,” @Bamzua typed in a reply to the Pontian representative. He had included an infographic of the Malaysian flag.
“Get to know the Jalur Gemilang. It’s sad that after 63 years of independence, the flag’s stripes are still something people toy with,” he added.
Using inaccurate depictions of the national flag is a crime under the Communication and Multimedia Act, which carries a maximum penalty of a RM50,000 (US$12,000) fine and two years’ jail.
A restaurant owner in Johor was recently arrested for flying the flag upside down. The Malaysian Basketball Association was last year questioned by the police for displaying the flag with a five-pointed star and seven stripes while live-streaming a competition.
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This article, Politicians post wrong Malaysian flags on Independence Day, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!