Flag of Malaysia
|Design||Fourteen horizontal stripes alternating red and white; in the canton, a yellow crescent and 14-point star on a blue field. |
When the Federation of Malaya replaced the short lived Malayan Union, the federation government through the Federal Legislative Council called for a design contest for a new flag. The Malayan flag was approved by King George VI on 19 May 1950 and was first raised in front of Istana Selangor on 26 May 1950. On 31 August 1957, it was raised upon independence at Merdeka Square in place of the British Union Flag.
The Malayan flag was designed by Mohamed Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect working for the Public Works Department (JKR) in Johor Baharu, Johore. He entered the Malayan flag design competition in 1947 with two designs which he completed within two weeks. The first design was a green flag with blue kris in the middle, surrounded by 15 white stars. The second design, which was among the three finalists, was similar to the current flag but with a five-pointed star. It borrows major design elements from the East India Company flag, notably the red and white stripes. The competition attracted 373 entries and voting was made by the general public via post. Malayan senior statesman Dato' Onn Jaafar met with Mohamed Hamzah after he won the competition and suggested that the star be changed to an 11-pointed one to represent all the Malayan states.
Following the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, the design of the Malayan flag was modified to reflect and honour the new states in the federation.
Three additional stripes were added to the existing flag and the star was given 14 points to reflect the federation of the original 11 states in Malaya plus Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore; the design remained the same even after Singapore's expulsion from the federation two years later. When Kuala Lumpur was designated a Federal Territory on 1 February 1974, the additional stripe and the point in the star were appropriated to represent this new addition to the federation. Eventually, with the addition of two other federal territories, Labuan in 1984 and Putrajaya in 2001, the fourteenth stripe and point in the star came to be associated with the federal government in general. 
The 14 stripes, of equal width, represent the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government, while the 14 points of the star represent the unity between these entities. The crescent represents Islam, the country's official religion; the blue canton symbolises the unity of the Malaysian people; the yellow of the star and crescent is the royal colour of the Malay rulers.