The Malaysian flag or Jalur Gemilang consists of 14 horizontal red and white stripes of equal width; a dark blue canton occupying the upper left quarter of the flag; and within the canton, a crescent, and a 14-pointed star.

The stripes represent the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states - namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Penang and Terengganu - and the Federal Government, as represented by the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.

The colours red and white symbolise courage and purity respectively. The canton symbolises the unity of the people of Malaysia. The crescent is the symbol of Islam, the official religion of Malaysia; and the 14 points of the star signify the unity of the 13 states of the federation with the Federal Government. The colour yellow signifies the royal colour of the Rulers.

After 40 years without a name, the Malaysian flag was officially named Jalur Gemilang on the 40th anniversary of the country's independence, Aug 31, 1997. Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad made the announcement at midnight in conjunction with the National Day celebrations.

The name Jalur Gemilang is the Bahasa Malaysia term for 'Stripes of Glory'. The tallest free-standing flagpole in the world (100 metres) is situated at Merdeka Square (Independence Square), in Kuala Lumpur, the very spot where the Union Jack was lowered for the last time at midnight on Aug 31, 1957 and the Malayan flag hoisted up for the first time.

C-Right 2014 by Langkawi Gazette