The Flag of Malaysia, or Jalur Gemilang, was waved by the representative of Malaysia last 2021 Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics has been the talk of the town worldwide. During the opening ceremony march, every country’s flagbearer had the opportunity to wave their national flag proudly as representatives of each of their countries, including Malaysia. Learn more about flags from other countries here.
Since you have learned many things about Malaysia and the Malay language, let’s dive deeper into Malaysian culture and learn more about the Malaysian flag. It is the perfect occasion to learn about the flag of Malaysia and its history since its Independence of Malaysia is by the end of this month- August.
With 14 horizontal stripes alternating red and white, the flag represents equality among the federation’s 13 member states. But that’s not all – the blue field in the top-left corner is a symbol of unity, and it features a yellow crescent and a 14-pointed star, both of which hold great significance in Malaysian culture.
The crescent, representing Islam, Malaysia’s official religion, and practiced by the majority of its citizens, is a powerful symbol of faith and identity. Meanwhile, the 14-pointed star represents the unity of Malaysia’s diverse regions and people, including the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya.
The blue canton, also representing unity, adds to the flag’s harmonious message. And let’s not forget the striking use of yellow, the royal color of the Malay rulers, to highlight the crescent and star. All in all, the Malaysian national flag is a vibrant, meaningful representation of the country’s culture and values.
The Federation Of Malaya
Before the country had its flag, each state in Malaya (Malaysia’s previous name) had its own flag; most of these flags are still kept the same until now.
After World War II in 1946, The Malayan Union came to be when the British decided to put the Malay peninsula under a single government. However, the Union (which consisted of the Malay state, the straight settlements of Penang, and Malacca) did not last long due to opposition. Thus the Federation of Malaya was born in 1948.
The Malayan Union had its own flag. However, after the Federation of Malaya took over, a flag design competition was held to choose the perfect flag for the Federation in 1947. After receiving designs, three designs were presented to the public, and a public poll was held by The Malay Mail for the public to comment on and choose from. The third design was chosen out of all the designs sent by 373 participants.
The Flag Of The Federation
The third design was designed by Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect. The flag’s design has 11 blue and white horizontal stripes, a red canton on the top-left side, and inside, it contains a crescent moon and a five-pointed star, both white in color.
The symbolism of the original flag:
|Red, white, blue||A country belonging to the Commonwealth|
|Star and crescent||Represent the official religion of the federation|
However, the flag was modified before it was finalized. The Malayan senior statesman at the time, Dato’ Onn Jaafar met up with the winner after he won the competition to give a few suggestions to modify the flag. The result of the modification was as follows:
- The blue and white stripes were changed to alternating red and white stripes.
- The color of the top-left canton was changed to a blue canton.
- The pattern in white was changed to a yellow crescent and star.
- The five-point star might be similar to the Communists’ symbols. Hence the five points were changed to 11 points to symbolize the 11 states of the Federation.
George VI later approved the Malayan Flag on 19 May 1950. It was also raised on 31 August 1957, the Federation’s independence day, at Merdeka Square.
Malaysia Day / Hari Merdeka
The flag was modified again in September 1963. September 16, 1963, was the establishment of the Malaysian Federation. The event was to celebrate the unification of Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, and Malaya.
Since the formation of Malaysia has added new states, the star and stripes on the flag were changed as well. The number of points on the star was increased to a 14-point star, while three extra horizontal stripes were added to the flag and were made into 14 stripes.
These changes resulted in the current Flag of Malaysia called Jalur Gemilang, and it was officially first raised on the same day, September 16, 1963.
National Day Parade
One of the most exciting events in Malaysia is the National Day Parade, which takes place on August 31st each year. This annual tradition is a celebration of Malaysian independence, and it is a time for people to come together and show their national pride.
During the National Day Parade, the Malaysian national flag is everywhere. It is carried by marchers in the parade, flown from buildings and vehicles, and even painted on people’s faces. It is a time for Malaysians to come together and celebrate their shared heritage and culture. There are some very specific rules when flying the flag on this day, such as always having it point towards the road when being flown at home, and when it is flown alongside other flags, it has to be fluttering from the tallest pole.
The Malaysian Flag As Part Of Everyday Life
The Malaysian flag is important, not just during national celebrations and sporting events. It is also a symbol of everyday life in Malaysia, and you can see it flying from buildings and homes all over the country. One of the most impressive displays of the Malaysian flag can be found at Dataran Merdeka, or Independence Square, in Kuala Lumpur. This historic square is where the Malayan flag was first raised in 1957, and today it is a popular tourist destination where visitors can learn about the history of Malaysian independence and see the flag fluttering proudly in the breeze.
But the federation flag isn’t just a symbol of national pride and identity – it is also a source of inspiration for artists and designers. The bold red stripes and clean white stripes, the blue square, and the striking yellow crescent and star design have been incorporated into countless works of art and design, from clothing and accessories to furniture and architecture.
5 Interesting Facts About The Flag Of Malaysia
- The name of the Malaysian flag, Jalur Gemilang, means the Stripes of Glory or Glorious Stripes to highlight the core of Malaysia as a country. Malaysians were invited to suggest names for the flag in 1997, and the final name was picked officially by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on 31 August 1997.
- Singapore was expulsed from Malaysia in 1965, less than two years after the formation of the States of Malaysia. Nevertheless, the Malaysian flag was retained, but the fourteenth stripe and point in the star now stand for the federal territories in Malaysia. So the 14 stripes and the star with 14 points were maintained.
- The design of the Flag of the East India Company was inspired and adopted in the National Flag. The similarities can be seen, especially in the design of the stripes.
- Mohamed Hamzah sent two designs to the flag design competition in 1947; he designed both flags in the span of two weeks, and one ended up becoming the Malaysian flag. Amazing right?
- The Malaysian flag has its flag anthem, of course! After the new name was adopted in 1997, the song with the same name, Jalur Gemilang, was played during the Independence season.
- To celebrate the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, a Japanese website designed national flags in the form of anime samurai. The Flag of Malaysia was also included and was named the Child of Sun and Moon. A proverb was included in the design ‘seperti mentimun dan durian,’ which can be translated as ‘like a cucumber to a durian.’ This proverb means to fight a stronger enemy. The design of the samurai adopted all of the details in the Flag of Malaysia.
Symbols And Meaning Of The Malaysian Flag
There are stripes and a canton, as well as four colors in the Malaysian flag- red, white, yellow, and blue. Let’s find out what they represent.
- The flag’s stripes of glory contain six red stripes and five white stripes. The alternating red and white horizontal stripes represent the 13 states and the federal government. The 13 member states are Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, and Sarawak; while the federal territories include Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya.
- The 14-point star represents the unity between the federal states and the 13 member states.
- The yellow crescent-shaped moon represents Malaysia’s official religion- Islam.
- The red color represents persistence and boldness; the white represents honesty and nobility; the blue in the top-left blue canton represents unity through peace and obedience; the yellow represents loyalty to the country and the king since yellow is the color of the royal sovereignty of Malaysia.
|Independence Day||Hari Merdeka|
Malaysian Flag Anthem
If you really want to impress your Malaysian friends, here is the flag anthem, or Jalur Gemilang, by Pak Ngah & Siso Kopratasa in English and Malay.
|Your Red represents steely will||Merahmu bara semangat waja|
|Your White represents clean and kind character||Putihmu bersih budi pekerti|
|Yellow of the Sovereign, the country’s protector||Kuning berdaulat payung negara|
|Blue for all of us in unity||Biru perpaduan kami semua|
|You have reached the heights of the world||Puncak dunia telah kautawan|
|You have travelled the wide waters||Lautan luas telah kauredah|
|Bearing the spirit of independence||Membawa semangat jiwa Merdeka|
|We are members of its successful will||Semarak jaya kami warganya|
|Fourteen stripes across||Empat belas melintang jalurnya|
|For each of the states of Malaysia||Semua negeri dalam Malaysia|
|One voice, one spirit||Satu suara satu semangat|
|So its sovereign citizens solemnly swear||Itu sumpah warga berdaulat|
|Stripes of Glory, beneath your care||Jalur Gemilang di bawah naunganmu|
|Stripes of Glory, we unite||Jalur Gemilang kami semua bersatu|
|Unity and loyalty||Perpaduan ketaatan|
|Are the noble values of the Malaysian people||Amalan murni rakyat Malaysia|
|Stripes of Glory, how proud we feel||Jalur Gemilang megah kami terasa|
|Stripes of Glory, proclaim our vision||Jalur Gemilang kibarkanlah wawasan|
|Red, white, blue, yellow||Merah, putih, biru, kuning|
|Are the stripes of our resolve||Jalur semangat kami semua|
|Flutter-on, flutter-on, flutter-on||Berkibarlah!, berkibarlah!, berkibarlah!|
|Stripes of Glory!||Jalur Gemilang!|
Want To Learn More About The Malay language?
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