Malaysia is a federal state ruled by a constitutional monarchy comprising of thirteen states and three federal regions. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur which was included in the federation in 1974. The country is divided geographically by the South China Sea into two sections, the Peninsular Malaysia and the Malaysian Borneo; these are also called West and East Malaysia.
The flag of Malaysia is named Jalur Gemilang meaning “Stripes of Excellence” in Malay. It was named in 1997 by the Prime Minister at that time, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad, who declared the name as representing Malaysia’s goal to strive for progress and success.
The flag design consists of a blue rectangle on the top left corner having a yellow crescent and a yellow star with fourteen points and a field of red and white stripes. The stripes have identical widths. The fourteen pointed star signifies the unity of the 13 federal states and the federal government. The equal width in the red and white stripes symbolizes the equal status of the 13 federal states and the federal government. The golden crescent moon represents Islam because it is the national religion. The blue region means the harmony and unity of the Malaysian people. Yellow is considered the royal color associated with the Malay rulers.
The design of the Malayan flag was determined through a national contest organized by the Federation government in 1947. It was the flag that unified the states of Malaysia because before the implementation of the flag, each Malayan state has its own flag. The winning design was made by an architect employed in the Public Works Department, Mohamed Hamzah. It was one of the three finalists in the flag design competition.
The original design used eleven red and white stripes and a five pointed star. The design won through a public voting poll. This flag was accepted by King George VI on May 1950. In 1957, it was raised at Merdeka Square upon independence of Malaysia from the British Union. Later the star was changed to an eleven pointed star to symbolize the federal states. The flag was further modified to respect the new federal states included in the federation in the form of three additional stripes and three additional points in the star. The current Malayan flag was hoisted on September 16, 1963 for the first time. The flag was derived from the flag of the Federation of Malaya.