Malaysia: Flag & National Symbols                           

  • The Malaysian flag was officially adopted on September 16, 1963.

 

  • Using the US flag as a model, the 14 red and white stripes represent the 14 states of the country.

 

  • The gold crescent and star are symbols of Islam, and the blue field represents the unity of the people.

  • The crescent is the traditional symbol of Islam—the official religion of Malaysia.

 

  • The 14-pointed star represents the equal status of the 13 states of the federation and their unity with the Federal Government.

 

  • Originally the 14th point on the star represented Singapore, but after Singapore left the federation in 1963, the star came to represent the Federal Government.

 

  • The central field depicts the bunga raya or hibiscus which is the national flower.

 

  • Flanking the shield are tigers—a design retained from the earlier armorial ensign of the Federation of Malaya.

 

  • The shield is a yellow scroll which contains a motto, printed in Malay and Arabic, that translates as “Unity is Strength.” Yellow is the color of royalty.

  • The national flower of Malaysia is the hibiscus, or bunga raya. The flower is found in abundance throughout the country, and for this very reason, was chosen to be the national flower (in 1960) by Malaysia's first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

 

  • There are many varieties of the hibiscus, but the five-petaled hibiscus rosa sinensis was chosen above the others, as the most symbolically relevant. The five petals of the bunga raya symbolise the Rukunegara (the Five Principles of Nationhood), while the color red represents courage.

 

  • It is believed that the flower first arrived in Malaysia via trade from its original home in the Far East sometime before the 12th century.

  

  • The national flower, bunga raya, is known for its medicinal properties. The roots of the plant are used as a cure for fever and other ailments, while the juice obtained from the leaves and roots is said to be effective in relieving skin eruptions and glandular troubles. Also, the petals were commonly used as cosmetics to darken and highlight women's eyebrows.