Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country. The federal constitutional monarchy is made up of thirteen states and three federal territories that are divided into Peninsular, or West, Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia by the South China Sea. West Malaysia is located in the southern portion of the Malay Peninsula (Malaya), with Thailand to the north. East Malaysia is bordered on the land and sea by Brunei and Indonesia. East Malaysia is made up of the states of Sarawak and Sabah, which are located in the north-western region of the island of Borneo. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, is located on the western side of the peninsula. While Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital and largest city, the country’s administrative capital is located in Putrajaya, which is roughly 16 miles (25 kilometres) south of the capital.
Malaysia is the world’s 43rd most populous country, with a population of about 32 million people. Due to its strategic location, Malaysia is multi-cultural. The population is incredibly diverse, with ethnic Malays and Chinese constituting the major ethnic groups. Constituting the most prominent of the smaller ethnic groups are Indigenous people and South Asians.
Malaysia has its roots in the Malay kingdoms, which were part of the British Empire in the 18th century, including the protectorate of the British Straits Settlements. In 1946, Peninsular Malaysia was united as the Malayan Union. In 1948, Malaya was reformed as the Federation of Malaya, and on August 31, 1957, Malaysia gained independence.
Bendera Malaysia or Malaysia’s flag is commonly known as Jalur Gemilang, which means Stripes of Glory. It was named by Malaysia’s Prime Minister at the time, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad, in 1997, as a symbol of the country’s desire for progress and achievement. The flag consists of a red and white striped field with a blue canton bearing a crescent and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan (Federal Star). The flag has a width-to-length ratio of 1 to 2.
The flag of Malaysia, which was flown for the first time on September 16, 1963, was derived from the flag of the Federation of Malaya. Each state in Malaya had its own flag before the formation of the national flag, several of which are still in use today. The flag’s design is based on two existing flags: the flag of Majapahit and the flag of Johor, with the stripes from the Majapahit flag, combined into the canton bearing the crescent and star from the Johor flag. Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect at the Public Works Department (JKR) in Johor Baharu, Johore, designed the Malayan flag. In 1947, he entered the Malayan flag design competition with two designs, which he finished in two weeks. It incorporates important design aspects from the East India Company’s flag, particularly the red and white stripes. The competition received 373 entries, and the public voted through postal ballot. Eventually, Mohammed Hamzah won the competition. After Mohamed Hamzah won the competition, Malayan senior politician Dato’ Onn Jaafar met with him and advised that the star be changed to an 11-pointed one to represent all Malayan states.
The Malayan flag was changed after the creation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963, to reflect and honour the new states in the federation. To commemorate the federation of the original 11 states in Malaya plus Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore, three additional stripes were added to the existing flag, and the star was given 14 points. Even after Singapore separated from the federation two years later, in August 1965, the design remained the same. On 1 February 1974, the additional stripe and point in the star were assigned to signify this new addition to the federation as Kuala Lumpur was named a Federal Territory. However, after the creation of two more federal territories, Labuan in 1984 and Putrajaya in 2001, the fourteenth stripe and point in the star became connected with the federal government in general. The 14 stripes of equal width signify the 13 member states and federal territories’ equal standing in the federation, and the 14 points of the star represent the union of these entities. The blue canton symbolizes the harmony of Malaysian people; the crescent represents Islam, the country’s official religion; and the yellow colour in the star and crescent reflects the Malay rulers’ regal colour.
The Federal Star, or Bintang Persekutuan, holds much significance for the nation. The Federal Star, like Australia’s Commonwealth Star, represents the unification of states in the Malaysian federation and its Federal government. It’s also on the Royal Malaysian Air Force roundel, the Malaysian Chinese Association’s (MCA) flag, and the old United Malayan Banking Corporation’s (UMBC) emblem.
The flag anthem is created in honour of the Malaysian national flag’s passion and pride. Every year on August 31st, Hari Merdeka, the nation’s independence day, the anthem is performed. Malaysian songwriter Tony Fonseka wrote the original anthem Benderaku. The flag song was changed in 1997 to match the change in the flag’s name, Jalur Gemilang. Following that, a new flag anthem was introduced, with arrangements by Malaysian artist Pak Ngah and lyrics by Malaysian songwriter Siso Kopratasa.
The National Day, also known as Hari Merdeka or Hari Kebangsaan, commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence of 31 August 1957. Everyone is encouraged to fly the Jalur Gemilang at their homes, office buildings, businesses, and corporate premises during the National Day celebrations. If the flag is installed at home, it should be raised so that it points towards the road. If the Malaysian flag is hoisted in a group of flags with state and private enterprise flags, it must be raised between two flags and its pole set higher than the others. This year, the independence day of Malaysia lies on Tuesday, August 31st 2021. Malaysians enjoy all kinds of Hari Merdeka festivities throughout the country with much excitement, celebrations are usually filled with fireworks, parades, and flag-waving jubilation. It is also common to see many groups marching in processions dressed in traditional garments to represent their cultural backgrounds.