The flag of Malaysia is comprised of two portions. The first portion is a blue rectangular field in the upper left corner. Upon this field is a gold crescent moon and a 14-point star that is called Bintang Persekutuan in Malay, or Federal Star in English. The rest of the flag is comprised of red and white horizontal stripes in an alternating pattern. Each stripe is of equal width and there are seven of each color. The stripes stand for 13 states and one federal government. The 14-point star also stands for the unity between the states and government. The crescent moon represents Islam, which is Malaysia’s official religion. The gold of the moon and star represent the color of Malaysian royalty. The blue in the background stands for unity.
The current Malaysia flag was adopted in September of 1963. A similar flag, but with only 11 stripes and an 11-point star was adopted in 1950 and was in place until 1963. Malaysia has had a large number of flags throughout its history. One of the first known flags was the flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak between 1870 and 1946. This was a gold flag with two inward-facing T-shapes meeting in the middle. The left shape was black and the right shape was red. In the center was a gold crown. Another flag in use in a similar time period was the flag of North Borneo, which was a part of Malaysia owned by Britain. This flag was blue with the Union Jack in the upper left corner. A leaping red lion was in the right center on a golden circle.
As Britain held many Malay territories between 1882 and 1959, there were also a variety of flags displaying the typical blue background with the upper left Union Jack. The only difference in each flag was a different crest or coat of arms in the right center. Before the current flag design, the flag of the Federated Malay States represented independent Malaysia between 1896 and 1946, then the Malayan Union between 1946 and 1948 and the Federation of Malaya between 1948 and 1950. This Malaysian flag consisted of four horizontal bands of white, red, gold and black from top to bottom. In the center was a white circle with a running tiger.