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Subnational Flags (Malaysia)

Last modified: 2009-06-06 by ian macdonald
Keywords: malaysia | subnational |
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Going through the flags of the Malaysian states, we realise that the flags are actually very much sultan-based. In my humble opinion this explains why the Malaysian government, trying very much to curtail the power of the sultanates, never emphasises state flags and never prints them on postage stamps in the way other countries have done.
Thomas W. Koh
, 14 May 1997

The names of the states of Malaysia: for the nine Malay sultanates [Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Trengganu] the Darul commonly does follow the name of the state. However, attempts to extend this scheme to Penang, Malacca, Sabah and Sarawak are generally unsuccessful, and it would be more appropriate for the corresponding motto to be in parentheses for these states, if they must appear at all. For example, Penang has long been called the Pearl of the Orient, hence literally Mutiara Timur. Sabah is the Land [negeri is literally State] beneath the Wind, Sarawak is the Land of the Hornbill, Perlis also does not use the Darul and is instead Indera Kayangan which means something like "land of dreams". Malacca really does not have anything like this: Bandaraya bersejarah just means historic city, a title of the city of Malacca (which has the same name as the state).

The English names of states are not the former names of the states. Both before and after independence the English and Malay versions have existed side by side. Thus in English Penang, Malacca, Johore, and Trengganu are the accepted English spellings of Pulau Pinang, Melaka, Johor, and Terengganu respectively, though for simplicity the last three states often use only the Malay spelling.
Andrew Yong, 11 April 1999

In Malaysia today, state flags and their preceding ensigns are no longer used as merchant or civil ensigns. In fact the only time we see state flags used are during official state government functions as the federal government has basically centralised a lot of authority.
Robert Kee, 14 February 2001

There are three federal territories so far in Malaysia:

Ostensibly, Kuala Lumpur is supposed to be the business capital, Labuan the financial capital and Putrajaya the administrative capital.
Robert Kee, 1 March 2001

Malaysia is a federation. In first level there are 16 entities - 13 federal states and 3 federal territories. In second level there are (territorial) districts - daerah. Except the flags of Kelantan districts, there are no other known flags in this level. Municipal government is presented in 4 types. City Hall (dewan bandaraya), City Council (majlis bandaraya), Municipal Council (majlis perbandaran) and District Council (majlis daerah). Districts and District Councils are not the same government entities. In some cases one district can contains one or more municipalities, and in other cases one municipality can contains one or more districts. Municipalities could have one, two or three emblems - flag (bendera), coat of arms (jata) or logo (logo). In many cases they have all three symbols.
Valentin Poposki, 16 September 2005