The Flag Of Malaysia: 6 Interesting Facts You Should Know

August 9, 2021

The Flag of Malaysia recently was waved by the representative of Malaysia in the ongoing 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 the 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 the Independence of Malaysia is by the end of this month- August.

History

The Federation Of Malaya

Before the country has 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 and to choose from. The third design presented was the one 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 design of the flag 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, blueA country belonging to the Commonwealth.
Star and crescentrepresent the official religion for the federation.

Modification

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 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 into a 14-point star, while three extra horizontal stripes were added to the flag and were made into 14 stripes.

These changes result in the current Flag of Malaysia called Jalur Gemilang, and it was officially first raised on the same day, September 16, 1963.

 

5 Interesting Facts About The Flag Of Malaysia

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 stripes.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Source: @WORLDFLAGS (Twitter)

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 includes 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 represented loyalty to the country and the king since yellow is the color of the royal sovereignty of Malaysia.

 

Related Vocabulary

MalayEnglish
JalurStripes
GemilangGlory/Glorious
WarnaColor
MerahRed
BiruBlue
KuningYellow
PutihWhite
SejarahHistory
Hari MerdekaIndependence Day

 

Want To Learn More About The Malay language?

Malaysians will be starting to put up their National Flags on the occasion of Independence Day on 31 of this month. So why not learn the Malay Language to immerse in the history and culture fully? To learn the Malay language, we have the best solution for you.

The Ling App by Simya Solutions is an application that offers you FREE content to learn over 60+ languages, including the Malay Language. Learn how to speak like a native and add more to your lists of vocabularies through exercises and quizzes offered in the app. You can easily download the app through your Appstore or Playstore and sign up. So what are you waiting for?

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