Last modified: 2001-09-08 by santiago dotor
Keywords: malaysia | malay | historical | federation of malaya | persekutuan tanah melayu | canton (blue) | crescent: points to fly | star: 11 points (yellow) | stripes: 11 |
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by António Martins and Rob Raeside
In 1950 a new flag was introduced: the basic design is that preserved in the modern flag, but 11 stripes and an 11-pointed star, representing the number of constituent states. In 1963 three more states (Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore) joined the federation and country's name changed to Malaysia. The common explanation for the addition of the 's' in the name is that all three new states start with this letter. The number of stripes on the flag was increased to 14 as was the numbers of points on the star.
The flag of Malaysia is a combination of traditional Islamic symbols and the Stars and Stripes. The 14 stripes and the 14 points of the star represents the 14 member states and the crescent and star represents the dominant religion Islam. The blue canton stands for affiliation to the Commonwealth. The dimension of the flag is 1:2.
Jan Oskar Engene, 24 June 1996
The old Malayan (for the Federation of Malaya) flag was similar to the present day Malaysian flag except that the star and the stripes were 11 for the 11 states of Peninsular (or West) Malaysia. The flag was changed with the creation of Malaysia in 1963.
Thomas W. Koh, 14 May 1997
[Translated from the Malaysian flags official URL:]
History of the Flag
The flag was chosen by a body established in 1949 to choose a flag for the Federation of Malaya. A competition was held by the Federal Legislative Assembly, in which 373 entries were submitted of which 3 made it to the final stage. The first design was a badge of crossed kris circled with 11 five-pointed stars. The second design was similar to the first, except that the 11 stars were arranged in two circles around the crossed kris. The third design was 11 blue and white stripes with a yellow moon and star at the hoist.
The Malay Mail surveyed public opinion, and on 28/11/49 published the result, i.e. a majority for the third design, the creation of a government architect from Johore, En. Mohd b. Hamzah.
With a few amendments the flag attained the support of the Council of Rulers on 22/2/50 and on 19/4/50 the Federal LegCo passed a motion That in the opinion of this Council the Flag of the Federation of Malaya should be as follows:- Eleven horizontal stripes alternately red and white in colour, the uppermost stripe being red, having a blue quarter with a crescent and eleven-pointed star in yellow superimposed, the standard size of the flag to be six feet by three feet.
The design was approved by HM King George VI on 19/5/50, and the flag was first flown at a flag-raising ceremony held by the British High Commisisoner on 26/5/50 in the compound of the Sultan of Selangor's palace, attended by TH the Rulers of the Malay States and British officials.
Andrew Yong, 15 August 1999