The Jalur Gemilang and what it represents

Malaysians with Jalur Gemilang

Malaysians have been urged to raise the Jalur Gemilang ahead of the Merdeka Day celebration on Aug 31.

Even the Information Department of Malaysia has initiated a series of activities to get Malaysians to fly and appreciate the Jalur Gemilang.

But how much do you know about the Malaysian flag?

Here’s a brief history of its birth.

On Nov 29, 1949, the Council of Malay Rulers, together with the Federal Legislative Council held a competition to choose the best design for the national flag. A total of 373 entries were submitted.

Who came up with the design of the flag?

The final design chosen was by Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect with the Public Works Department in Johor. His design was made public on Nov 28, 1949.

Were changes made to Hamzah’s design?

Yes. Hamzah had initially used white for the star and crescent. It was changed to yellow to symbolise the royal institution. The design was approved by King George VI on May 19, 1950.

When was the flag first raised?

May 26, 1950, at the Sultan of Selangor’s palace. The ceremony was attended by the Malay rulers and King George VI’s representative.

The flag was later raised at Dataran Merdeka on Aug 31, 1957.

Who gave the Malaysian flag the name Jalur Gemilang?

The Flag of Malaysia Naming Committee had, in 1996, shortlisted three out of 75 names suggested, but the Cabinet did not agree to any of those names. In June 1997, former Muzium Negara director of research, Md Redzuan Tumin suggested the name Jalur Gemilang to his then director-general, Datuk Kamarul Baharin Buyong, who was a member of the naming committee.

The name was introduced for the first time on Aug 31, 1997.

Facts about Jalur Gemilang

  • Colours (and what they represent):
  • Red (courage), white (purity), blue canton (unity) and yellow (royal institution)
  • 14 alternating red and white horizontal stripes represent the nation’s 13 member states and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan. Similar to the stripes, the 14-point star is another face of the Malaysian states and Federal Territories.
  • The crescent moon represents Islam.


The country celebrates its 64th Merdeka Day on Aug 31, after gaining independence in 1957, while Malaysia Day will be celebrated on Sept 16.

To know more about the Merdeka, and Malaysia Day events, visit