Often referred to as the Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory), the Malaysia flag features 14 horizontal stripes of alternating red and white, with a blue rectangle in the upper left corner of the hoist side containing a 14-pointed yellow star and a yellow crescent. The stripes stand for the 13 states of this federal constitutional monarchy; the 14th stripe stands for the federal government. The unity of these 13 states and their central government is symbolized by the 14 points on the yellow star. The yellow crescent is the emblem of Islam, the government-designated religion of Malaysia. Yellow is also the official colour of all Malay rulers; to this day, nine of the 11 states of Peninsular Malaysia still retain their royal families. The yellow symbols of Malaysia’s church and state are surrounded by blue to symbolize the unity of the Malay people.
First flown in 1950 after approval by King George VI of Britain, the original Malaysian flag was proudly raised to celebrate Malaysia’s independence on August 31, 1957. The flag was designed by a young architect, Mohamed Hamzah, whose design was chosen out of 373 entries in nation-wide contest. Over the years, the flag has been modified as new states have joined the federation.
Several rules govern the flying of the Jalur Gemilang, which all homes and businesses are encouraged to raise on days of national celebration. When flown at home, the flag should be raised pointing toward the road. When in a group of flags, it must be raised on a higher pole located between the other flags.