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Malay States

Federation of


Federation of Malaysia

Armed Forces



Air Force



Kuala Lumpur





Negeri Sembilan









Orang Asli





The Malay peninsula was called Lan-ya-Hsü by the Han-chinese. In that time the Malay Empire was situated on Sumatra. The capital of the same name of this empire was probably situated in Jambi or in its vicinity. Not long after, Malaya was a part of the Srivijaya Empire with its capital in the vicinity of Palembang. [1] This empire comprised, apart from Sumatra, also the Malay Peninsula, the western part of Borneo/Kalimantan and Java. When this empire fell apart the Malay Peninsula came within the sphere of influence of Siam but in 1409 there was a Malacca Sultanate comprising todays’ Malaysia and the remains of the Srivijaya Empire in the east of Sumatra (Jambi and Palembang). The central power of this empire was located in Malacca. The sultanate  existed until 1511 when the city was captured by Alfonso d'Albuquerque who established Portuguese rule. The sultan and his sons took refuge in the surrounding states.

From this time on Malacca was a part of the Portuguese Vice-kingdom of India and was subordinated to Goa which was the seat of the Vice-king. The coat of arms of its sovereign, the King of Portugal was the royal arms of Portugal, the arms of the Portuguese empire was a golden armillary-sphere on a shield parted per pale Argent and Gules.

After Philip II had become King of Portugal, the Dutch, who were at war with Spain, logically were also at war with Portugal. This was an important impetus for the conquest of Portruguese territories overseas by the Dutch. In 1603 they ousted the Portuguese from the Malay peninsula and in 1641 they conquered Malacca. Afterwards, until the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, the southern part of the peninsula was within the sphere of political and commercial interest of the Dutch in the East Indies.


Federated Malay States


In 1826 the English established the Straits Settlements with its capital Georgetown on the shores of the Strait of Malacca. Before, in 1819, Singapore was founded by Stamford Raffles.

Initially the colonies were governed by the British East India Company. From 1874 until 1895 the local rulers were submitted by and by to the English. In 1895 the princes of Perak, Selan­gor, Pahang en Negri Sembilan (= Nine States) signed a treaty with the English by which their states became British protectorates. Also they had to accept a British Resident who controlled their internal and external affairs. The four states, merged into the Federation of Malay States, are the nucleus of what later became the Federation of Malaysia.

A coat of arms of the Federated Malay States is known from about 1914. It is: Vert, nine sheafs of paddy Or, and a chief Argent charged with the emblems of Pahang, Perak and Selangor in chief.

This coat of arms was designed by Malay authorities in consultation with the College of Arms in London. [2] 



In 1929 a new coat of arms was adopted. It is:

Arms: Quarterly, Argent, Gules, Sable and Or.

Crown: A five-pointed crown Or.

Supporters: Two tigers proper

Motto: dipelihara allah (Under Gods’ Protection)


On the first of April 1946 the Federation was changed into the Malay Union. For this Union the use of the arms was continued.


Federation of Malaya


  Photo H.d.V. ‘80

Achievement of the Federation of Malaya, 1948


Op 31 January 1948 the form of government was changed again. Malay became a federation again with the name of  “Federation of Malaya”. This federation consisted of the former Federated Malay States, the other former unfederated states Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis en Trengganu and the Straits Settlements states Penang and Malacca.

A coat of arms was adopted 19 March 1952. The nucleus of this coat of arms was the arms of 1929. It is:

Arms: Tierced per pale the first of Penang, the second, somewhat wider, quarterly Argent, Gules, Sable and Or; the third the crest of  Malacca; and a chief Gules, five krisses in their sheats, per pale Or.

Crest: A crescent and a eleven-pointed star Or.

Supporters: Two tigers proper

Motto: UNITY IS STRENGTH and its translation in Malay Bersekutu Bertamba Mutu in arab lettering. [3]


The five krisses are for the former unfederated states.


Federation of Malaysia


On 9 July 1963 the British colonies on Borneo/Kalimantan: Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation, together with Singapore. The name of the Federation was changed into “Federation of Malaysia”.

Anticipating the changes a new coat of arms was adopted  on 19 March 1963. The achievement of the Federation of Malaya was augmented for the occasion with the blasons of Sabah, Singapore and Sarawak. At the same time the crest of malacca was replaced by a part of its new arms.

The arms are:

Arms: Tierced per pale, the second three-and-a-half times as wide as the other two: The first of Penang; the second per fess, in chief paly of four Gules, Sable, Argent and Or, in base tierced of the crest of Sabah, Singapore and Sarawak; and a chief Gules, five krisses in their sheats, per pale Or.

Crest: A crescent and a 14 pointed star Or.

Supporters: Two tigers proper

Motto: BERSEKUTU BERTAMBA MUTU, in latin and arab lettering on a banner Or. [4]



 Photo H.d.V. ‘80


On 9 August 1965 Singapore retired from the Federation. As a result the blason of Singapore was replaced by a hibiscus-flower. This Bunga Raja is given in Malaysia to appreciated guests. Until now Singapore has not reacted to this invitation.  



Two other changes in the achievement are concerning the blason of Sarawak. In 1975 the flag of Sarawak was changed into two stripes of red and white and a blue triangle at the hoist. This flag replaced the blason of Sarawak in that year. Somewhat later the flag was replaced by the full achievement of Sarawak. [5]


Photo H.d.V. 1980

The 1975 version of the achievement of  Malaysia

at the entrance of the House of Parliament , Kuala Lumpur.


On 31 August 1988 the flag of Sarawak was changed again because it resembled too much the flag of Czechoslovakia. The flag is now yellow with two bends black and red, charged with a nine-pointed yellow star. The motto was replaced by bersatu . berusara . berbakti and the achievement was changed accordingly. As a result the achievement of the Federation was changed also, the achievement of Sarawak placed on a yellow field.. The oppoprtunity was taken to replace the crest of Sabah by its achievement.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


The Malaysian Armed Forces



Ministry of Defence


The arms of the Ministry of Defence shows the colours of the Navy (dark blue) the Army (red) and the Air Force (light blue) arranged on a shield tierced per pale and charged with the full achievement of state.


The Armed Forces



The emblem of the Malaysian Armed Forces consists of a 14-pointed star charged with emblems for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force: A kris and a parang in saltire, an anchor per pale and a flying eagle. In base is a banner with the words: ANGKATAN TENTERA MALAYSIA.


The royal crown, which is not in the achievement of state, is on emblems of all branches of the armed forces. It consists of a diadem with three hoops, set with pearls, topped with a crescent-and-star and is lined with a red cap on which are the words “Allah” and “Mohammed” in golden arab script.  


The Army

The Navy



The emblem of the Malaysian Royal Army (Tentera Darat Diraja Malaysia) consists of a royally crowned  kris and a parang in saltire, surrounded by a garland and the motto Gagah Setia (Strong and Loyal) in base.







The emblem of the Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia) consists of an anchor per pale on a navy-blue field with the legend TENTERA LAUT DIRAJA MALAYSIA in yellow lettering. It is surrounded by a royally crowned rope, charged with a Bunga Raja in base. Below is the motto SEDIA BERKORBAN (ready to Sacrifice) in yellow lettering on a blue banner.


The Air Force



The emblem of the Malaysian Royal Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) consists of a flying eagle on a blue field surrounded by a dark-blue bordure with the name of the service. It is crowned with the royal crown and surrounded by six stalks of paddy. Below is a yellow banner with the motto SENTIASA DI ANGKASA RAYA (Always Great in the Sky).


The Police



The emblem of the Malaysian Royal Police, in blue rendering, consists of a kris and a parang in saltire, charged with a tigers’ head affrontée. It is surrounded by a tied garland of leaves, crowned with royal crown. Below is the name of the service.

The motto of the PDRM is “SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX” (The Welfare of the People is the Supreme Law)


The first emblem, introduced 1958, consisted of the kris and parang in saltire only, surrounded by the garland and with the name of the service  FED[eration] OF MALAYA POLICE on the banner. After the granting of  the title “Royal” in 1959, the emblem was augmented with a royal crown and the name was changed into POLIS  DIRAJA PERSEKUTUAN.

In 1963 the emblem was further augmented with the tigers’ head and the name of the service was changed into POLIS DIRAJA MALAYSIA.[6]


The actual emblem of the Royal Malaysian Police is explained as follows:


The logo of Royal Malaysian Police that is used today has its own significance and meaning. The Crescent and Star symbolizes Islam as the official religion of the nation. The calligraphic rendition of the name of Allah represents the element of piety as the symbol of sovereignty of Islam. The Crown represents the devotion to the holiness and omnipotence of Allah; it also represents our loyalty and honour of HM the Yang Dipertuan Agong who invested the Royal title to the Police Force. The Keris represents Peninsular Malaysia. The Kelewang or Parang Elang, literally meaning ‘Eagle Sword’ represents the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The Tiger represents bravery and agility in facing challenges from the enemy. The Rice Stalks represent the staple food of the nation and symbolises the prosperity of the nation. The motto ‘POLIS DIRAJA MALAYSIA’ represents the spirit and tenacity of the officers of the Royal Malaysian Police. [7]


Emblems of Armed forces, Army, Navy and Air Force:




© Hubert de Vries 2006.07.05

Updated 2010.07.08

[1]  There are no archeological data proving the existence of these cities.

[2] Fox-Davies A.C.: The Book of Public Arms. London, 1915. who remarks: “Arms have been devised by the Malayan authorities in consultation with the College of Arms”.

[3] Foto WW II National Monument in Kuala Lumpur, August 1980.

[4] Illustrated in Neubecker, 1974 p. 261.

[5] Information Malaysia, Incorporating Malaysia Yearbook 78/79. Berita Publishing Sdn. Bhd. Kuala Lumpur. Photos taken in Kuala Lumpur, aug. 1980. The arms of 1975 was on the gate to the House of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur.

[6] Information FOTW

[7] Lambang PDRM yang digunapakai sekarang mempunyai signifikan dan pengertian tersendiri. Bulan bintang melambangkan Islam sebagai Agama Rasmi Negara. Kalimah Allah melambangkan unsur keimanan sebagai wadah kedaulatan Agama  Islam. Mahkota mencerminkan bahawa Pasukan Polis Diraja Malaysia sentiasa menjunjung tinggi kesucian Islam dan kebesaran Allah, serta merupakan satu penghormatan kepada DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong di atas pengurniaan gelaran "Diraja" kepada Pasukan. Keris melambangkan Semenanjung Malaysia. Parang Elang atau Kelewang melambangkan negeri Sabah dan Sarawak. Harimau melambangkan keberanian dan ketangkasan dalam menghadapi cabaran musuh. Bunga padi melambangkan makanan asasi serta kemakmuran negara. Motto "POLIS DIRAJA MALAYSIA" menunjukkan ketinggian semangat serta keazaman anggota Pasukan. Translation  by Robert Kee, 14 February 2001.


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