Last modified: 2001-09-08 by santiago dotor
Keywords: malaysia | penang | pulau pinang | palm tree | areca nut tree | betelnut tree | pokok pinang | shield | wavy | embattled | feathers | prince of wales island | blue ensign |
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by Jaume Ollé
Penang has the only vertically divided flag in Malaysia: (light) blue - white - yellow with a palm tree in the middle.
Jaume Ollé, 14 January 1996
The flag is a tricolour consisting of vertical stripes of equal width of light blue (at the hoist), white and yellow; on the central (white) stripe is an areca nut palm (known in Malay as pokok pinang) on a mount. Light blue signifies the sea which surrounds the island. The white represents the State itself in its serenity. The yellow signifies prosperity. The betelnut (or areca nut) tree is the tree from which the island takes its name.
Tom Koh's personal note: Some time ago, I added my 2 cents worth to the discussion of Penang's (English version) official name. The above is obviously the correct version. There is no sultan of this state as it was once a component part of the British Straits Settlement.
Thomas W. Koh, 14 May 1997
The tree in the middle of the flag is the pinang tree which is the state tree of Penang. The Malay word for Penang is Pulau Pinang or Pinang Island.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 August 1997
Should the palm tree have a blue and white heraldic wreath under it?
Andrew Yong, 7 April 1999
Not that I know about, take a look at this Malaysia flag collection.
Dov Gutterman, 7 April 1999
If you look at the image there you'll see that the bottom of the green mound is cut as if there used to be a torse there. I sometimes see flags with the wreath/torse: I wonder when it was officially removed, or if the flags with wreaths are mistakes.
Andrew Yong, 8 April 1999
by Mario Fabretto (?)
Penang and Wellesley used first time (1865-67) a local badge with seal (inscription around: Penang and province Wellesley) in blue ensign. After 1867 the flag of the Straits Settlements was used and was in use until 1946. The new flag of Penang (blue ensign with shield directly in the blue) was approved 1949 and were in use until 1961. After, was adopted the current one.
Jaume Ollé, 31 August 1997
On the FOTW pages there is a flag labelled British Colony of Penang which is a Blue Ensign defaced with the Penang arms on a white disc in the fly. Does anyone know whether such a flag actually existed? Before the Straits Settlements were formed Penang was governed by the East India Company as part of its Indian possessions, and I don't know whether there was ever such a flag. I have however seen several flags in the State museum which are simply 2:1 standards of the Penang arms which I recall dated from that period.
Andrew Yong, 3 June 1998
This flag was introduced in 1949 and depending which source you care to believe was discontinued in 1957, 1961 or 1963. I suspect that it was not used to any great extent, and I doubt that it had the white disc around the shield.
David Prothero, 6 June 1998
I doubt a flag with a Union Flag in the canton could have survived Independence in 1957. I had thought that the palm tree tricolour was introduced around 1948 with Malayan federation, but if the defaced Blue Ensign flew then it must only have been introduced in 1957.
Andrew Yong, 6 June 1998
The tricolour was adopted in 1949 as "State flag" for the British colony when it joined the Federation. From 1948 until 1957 the state of Penang remained a British dependance, although included in the Malay Federation, and the governmental ships flew the blue ensign with the badge, introduced in 1949. Previously the flags of the Straits Settlements were used.
Mario Fabretto, 10 June 1998