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States I



Kuala Lumpur





Negeri Sembilan









Orang Asli


Back to Malaysia


Wilaya Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Federal District of Kuala Lumpur


Kuala Lumpur has its origins in the 1850s, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah, hired some Chinese labourers to open new and larger tin mines In 1896, Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States.

Today Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they have since moved to Putrajaya starting in 1999. Some sections of the judiciary remain in the capital. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur


The coat of arms of the city of Kuala Lumpur can be found in some places in the town hall of Kuala Lumpur. It is:


Arms: Gules, a chevron charged with five fruits of a rubber-tree, between three krisses 2 and 1 proper




For the emblem of the federal district of Kuala Lumpur the classical british heraldic fashion has been abandoned. It consists of three entwined hexagons of blue, yellow and green, charged with the symbols of the administration, science and commerce. These are the 14-pointed star and crescent of the Federation, the model of an atom and an open book, and the symbol for the malaysian currency the ringgit. The motto MAJU DAN MAKMUR means ‘Progressive and Prosperous’ [1]


The site of the Federal District states:


The design of the emblem symbolises the three main features of Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory, namely as:


1) The Centre of Government and administration

2) The Centre of Commerce

3) The Centre of Culture and Learning



1) Abstract design of the Ringgit sign represents commerce

2) Star crescent of the Malaysia national flag to represent the seat of Government

3) Structure of an atom over an open book represents culture and learning.

These symbolic elements are contained in the three hexagonal cellular forms at the extremities of the interlocking involute spirals.

The cellular forms symbolise the presence of man-made things making environment which are inseparable from the elements of nature as depicted by the involute spirals.



1) The blue resembles the colours of the Malaysian flag

2) The yellow in the segment for commerce

3) The green in the segment for culture and learning signify growth and life, appropriate with our growing and dynamic culture



Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur or Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is a local authority which administrates Kuala Lumpur city centre and other areas in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. This agency is under Federal Territories Ministry of Malaysia. DBKL are responsible for public health and sanitation, waste removal and management, town planning, environmental protection and building control, social and economic development and general maintenance functions of urban infrastructure. Executive power lies with the mayor in the city hall, which is appointed for every three years by the Federal Territories Minister since the local government elections in Malaysia were suspended in 1970. There are two DBKL main headquarters: DBKL headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut and Menara DBKL 3 at Jalan Raja Abdullah.








The word Johor is taken from the Arabic word, ‘Jauhar’, which literally means ‘Precious Stones’.

The history of modern Johor began with Daing Ibrahim, the son of Abdul Rahman who was a descendant of Sultan Abdul Jalil IV of Johor. In 1855, under the terms of a treaty between the British in Singapore and Sultan Ali of Johor, the control of Johor was formally ceded to Ibrahim. Sultan Ali retained control over Kesang until shortly before his death in 1877 when the territory was ceded to Abu Bakar. Daing Ibrahim maintained the seat of government at Teluk Belanga in Singapore but also developed Tanjung Puteri in Johor. His reign saw the opening of land to Chinese settlers from Singapore for the cultivation of pepper, a move that boosted the economy of the state.

Abu Bakar later took the title Seri Maharaja Johor. He continued his father's efforts in cultivating friendly relations with the British. In 1866, he was formally crowned Sultan of Johor, a feat that earned him the title of ‘Father of Modern Johor’. He gave Johor its constitution and developed an efficient system of administration. The moving of the seat of government from Teluk Belanga to Tanjung Puteri (renamed Johor Bahru) in 1841 led to the rapid development of the town as government offices, police stations, mosques and court houses were built. The Istana Besar constructed during his reign became the official residence of the Sultan.

His successor, Sultan Ibrahim, continued to maintain close relations with the British and in 1910, requested for the services of a British advisor to counsel him on matters of state. Under the able administration of Sultan Ibrahim and his successors, Johor continued to thrive and prosper. In 1941, the peninsula fell under Japanese occupation and joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948. After independence in 1957, Malaysia has evolved into a combination of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.


Rulers of Johor

Temenggong Dynasty

Raja Temenggung Tun Ibrahim

1855 - 1862

Abu Bakar

1862 - 1895


1895 - 1959


1959 - 1981

Mahmud Iskandar Al-Haj

1981 - 2010



The Achievement


Johor is the first state in Malaya to have a coat-of-arms. It was designed by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1886. He added it to his royal regalia as a symbol of sovereignty and recognition of Johor as an independent state following the signing of the Anglo-Johor Treaty of 1885.


The achievement is:


Arms: Argent, a crescent-and star between four smaller five-pointed stars Or.

Crown: The Royal Crown of Johor

Supporters: Two tigers proper.

Motto: KEPADA ALLAH BERSERAH (Unto God Resigned) in golden arab lettering on a ribbon Argent.


The shield contains four five-pointed stars at each corner, depicting the four original Jajahan (divisions) Muar, Batu Pahat, Segamat and Endau.

The crescent and a five-pointed star in the middle of the shield denote Islam as the official religion of the state. The motto "Kepada Allah Berserah" (Unto God Resigned) is an endorsement in the belief in the Almighty.

The crown symbolises sovereignty. At that time, Johor was the only state that had a crown for its ruler. The crown is placed at the apex signifying priority and homage to the ruler, as in the Malay saying "kerja Raja dijunjung, kerja sendiri dikelek".


The Royal Crown of Johor



The Royal Crown of  Johor

Coll. Sultan of Johor, Johor Bahru. [2]


The plan of the heraldic crown slightly differs from this crown in that it shows only one hoop and in that the crescent-and-star on top is turned  90 °



The Royal Crown of Johor was made in 1886 by the jeweller J.W. Benson in London. On the crown are the islamic symbols of the crescent and star but also the names of Allah and Mohammed.

The heraldic crown consists of a diadem set with two crescents-and-stars and two stars, and one hoop set with pearls, and is topped with a crescent-and-star. The crown is lined with a blue cap. [3]



The tigers symbolize strength, bravery and majesty. During the opening of Johor, the settlers had to face hardship in the wilderness. It required bravery and strength to develop the state. The tigers are seen to be protecting the crown. The two tigers stand on

Gambier (uncaria gambir) [4]


a stylised compartment of gambier and pepper branches. The two crops were the main agricultural produce during the reign of the Temenggongs. The intricate designs of pepper and gambier adorn the state regalia, the throne, buildings and arches and are being used as decorative borders of documents, carpets etc.  The colour yellow denotes royalty.

* The Temenggongs encouraged Chinese immigrants in Johor to cultivate pepper and gambier. Pepper was much sought after in the spice trade. Gambier tablets processed from the leaf of the gambier plant were bartered with Chinese merchants for textile and food items. Gambier was used for curing, tanning and dyeing leather. A small amount was used for medicinal purposes. [5]


ð See illustration in the head of this section.


The oldest version of this achievement is on a gate in the royal palace. It shows, on an oval shield, a crescent-and-star, the shield surrounded by a bordure with the motto and crowned with the royal crown. On this version the pepper and gambier branches are clearly visible but the tiger-supporters are lacking.

A younger version dates from 1888 when the number of divisions was augmented to three by adding Batu Pahat division. The shield was changed then by surrounding the crescent-and-star by three asterisks or five-leaved flowers. [6]

The last and actual version dates from about 1892 when the number of divisions was augmented to four by adding Segamat. The four divisions were changed into districts in 1898. From this time the shield shows the crescent-and-star surrounded by four five-pointed stars. The pepper and gambier branches were replaced by a compartment of common European design.  

An early version of this achievement is on the railway station of Johor Bahru:

Photo H.d.V. 1980

The Johor Achievement at the entrance of the Railway Station, Johor Bahru. Ca. 1909.


PhotoH.d.V. 1980


The version of the achievement on the façade of the House of Parliament in Johor Bahru,

 the field of the shield chocolate.


ð A royal cypher from the time of Sultan Ibrahim shows the letters SI entwined and royally crowned.


Johor Armed Forces



The Royal Johor Military Force (Askar Timbalan Setia Negeri Johor) is an independent military formation raised in 1885 under the control of the Sultan of Johor. Today the force performs mainly ceremonial functions.

The emblem of the ATSNJ consists of a sword and a keris in saltire, crowned with the royal crown and a motto on an escroll in base. This emblem is also the cap badge of the Military force and as such is worn by the sultan, who is its supreme commander, on his headdress.



Emblem on the Porta de Santiago, Melaka (1670).


The Sword and Keris of the Johor Armed Forces has its predecessor in the emblem on the Porta de Santiago in Malacca. Above the VOC-arms over the entrance is an emblem of two keris in saltire, together with what seems to be a sceptre per pale. In the time when the gate was reconstructed by the Dutch VOC (1670) Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah III (1623-’77) was the suzerain of the company in Malacca. This is also stressed by the crown on the point of the sword of the VOC-soldier (today much weathered).


Crown on the sword of the VOC-soldier ð





Kedah emerged as a major kingdom on the Malay Peninsula in the 5th century. In the 18th century, external pressures from Bugis, Siam and Burma increasingly weakened Kedah. The situation was exacerbated by a power struggle that sparked off a civil war in 1724. Raja Haji, a Bugis leader, took advantage of the internal chaos and invaded Kedah in 1770. To counter the continuous threat from Siam, Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Syah appealed to the British for protection but In 1821, the Siamese conquered Kedah and ruled it for the next 20 years. Several attempts were made by the disposed Kedah Sultan to restore the kingdom. Eventually Siam acquiesced, but not before separating Perlis from Kedah to form a separate vassal principality. Kedah itself remained a Siamese vassal state until 1909.

On 9 July 1909, the Bangkok Agreement, which was ratified by the British and Siamese, effectively delivered Kedah to the British. Upon the appointment of Sir George Maxwell as Kedah’s British adviser, Kedah officially became a British colony. This lasted until the Japanese Invasion in 1941. British rule was resumed on 1 September 1946 and Kedah was placed under the British Military Administration.

According to the Malayan Union Scheme of 10 October 1945 Penang, Malacca and nine other Malay states including Kedah, were united under the Malayan Union. On 1 February 1948 the Malay Federation was founded and on 31 August 1957 independence was declared.


The coat of arms was adopted together with the flag on 10 January 1912. It consisted of a yellow shield over a green crescent, surrounded by a yellow garland. In about 1930 a yellow bend sinister was added with the title NEGERI KEDAH  (Kedah State) in black arab lettering. [7]


ðSee illustration in the head of this section.





Achievement of Kelantan on the façade of the House of Parliament,  Kota Baru.


In the 13th and 14th centuries Kelantan belonged to the Malacca Sultanate. After its fall in the 15th century, Kelantan came under the influence of neighbouring Patani. The Siamese eventually established their sovereignty over Kelantan following a treaty in 1832. Later, Siam dispatched a British adviser with the title of Siamese High Commissioner to Kelantan. W.A. Graham was appointed the first Siamese High Commissioner in 1902.

Then in 1909, the British and Siamese ratified the Bangkok Agreement, handing over Kelantan to the British and J.S. Mascon was dispatched as the first British adviser. The Japanese invasion in 1941 saw Kelantan being handed back to Siam during the Japanese Occupation. In September 1945, Kelantan was placed under the British Military Administration and later became a part of the Malay Unionand its successors.


Sultans of Kelantan

Muhammad III




Muhammad IV


Ismail I




Yahya Petra


Ismail Petra


The Achievement


The achievement of Kelantan dates from the first years of British supremacy.

In its oldest form it appeared on the jewel of the Royal Family Order, founded by Sultan Mohammed IV in 1916. This shows:


A spear and two keris in saltire, surrounded by a garland crested with a crescent-and-star and supported by two muntjacs (kijangs = Muntiacus reevesi - Cervidae).


The actual achievement dates from 1919 when it appeared on the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Kelantan, founded by Sultan Muhammad IV in 1919. It is:


Emblem: Two krises and two cannon arranged saltire-wise Gules, charged with a crescent and five-pointed star and two spears per pale Or

Crown: The Royal Crown of Kelantan

Supporters: Two muntjacks (Muntiacus reevesi - Cervidae) Or.

Motto: BERSERAH KEPADA TUHAN KERAJAAN KELANTAN (Kelantan is entrusted to God) in jawi script on an escroll Or.


The elements of the achievement symbolize:

The Krises and Spears symbolize the strength of the Kelantanese Malays

The Cannon symbolize the constant readiness of Kelantan to defend itself.

The Crescent-and star symbolizes Islam

The Crown is the symbol of the sovereignty of the Sultan of Kelantan. It consists of cap and a diadem set with two crescent-and-stars, with three hoops with pearls and topped by another crescent-and-star.

The Muntjacks are to the memory of the long Kelantanese history. They were adored by Cik Siti Wan Kembang, Queen of Kelantan and printed on her coinage.[8]



A quasi National Emblem consisting of the spears, kerises and crescent-and-star from the achievement appeared on the flag adopted in 1923. It is said to symbolize the sanctity of the sultan.


The symbol of the Sultan, probably dating from the time of Siamese sovereignty, consisted of the Lion of Ali, that is to say of a lion made up of a verse from the Quran in arabic. This kind of lion is a popular symbol of shiite rulers and warriors as Ali (the founder of the shiite branch of Islam) was called ‘Commander of the Faithful’ (Amir al mu’minin)

Lion of Ali


This lion was on the merchant and the navy flags until 1923.




Merchant and Navy flags until 1923 (by Roberto Bresci)



The royal cypher of Kelantan consists of the latin letters SNK (Sultan Negeri Kelantan) surrounded by a crowned garland.





Malacca was founded around 1400 by the Hindu Srivijayan prince Parameswara. When he became the ruler of Palembang, the Srivijaya Empire was already in decline. In 1409, Parameswara assumed the title Sultan Iskandar Shah due to his marriage to a princess from Pasai. His marriage to the Muslim princess encouraged a number of his subjects to embrace Islam. According to the Sejarah Melayu legend the king saw a mouse deer outwit a dog when he was resting under the Melaka tree. He took what he saw as a good omen and decided to establish a capital for his kingdom there. Today, the mouse deer is part of modern Malacca's coat of arms.


Hearing of Malacca's great wealth coming from Asian traders, the Portuguese king Dom Manuel I, sent Admiral Lopes de Sequeira to find Malacca and to make a friendly contact with its ruler. Sequeira arrived in Malacca in 1509. Although he was initially well-received by Sultan Mahmud Shah trouble however quickly ensued. Mahmud subsequently captured several of his men, killed others and attempted to attack the four Portuguese ships, although they escaped.

In April 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque, vice-roy of Portuguese India, made a number of demands - one of which was for permission to build a fortress as a Portuguese trading post near the city. All the demands were refused by the Sultan but Malacca fell to the Portuguese on August 24. Sultan Mahmud Shah was forced to flee to Pahang. His son Muzaffar Shah was invited by the people in the north of the peninsula to become their ruler, establishing the Sultanate of Perak. Meanwhile, Mahmud's other son, Alauddin succeeded his father and made a new capital in the south. His realm was the Sultanate of Johor, the successor of Malacca.

Malacca was later conquered by the Dutch in 1641 and came under the jurisdiction of the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.). On 1 December 1795 the British took over the administration an Malacca was governed by residents until 1818.

Malacca was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen on Sumatra. From 1826 to 1946 Malacca was governed, first by the British East India Company and then as a Crown Colony. It formed part of the Straits Settlements, together with Singapore and Penang.. From 1942 until 1945 Malacca was occupied by Japan. In 1957, Malacca joined other Malay states to form Malaya and in 1963, together with Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore formed Malaysia.



The remains of the ramparts of Malacca date from the time of the Portuguese occupation when a fotress was build. A gate of this fortress, the A’ Famosa (Porta de Santiago) is preserved in the Jalan Kota there. In the time of the Dutch East India Company, a relief was added above the gate, showing the coat of arms of the Company with the date “ANNO 1670”.


Photo H.d.V. 1980

Over all view of the Porta de Santiago in Melaka.


Photo H.d.V. 1980

Achievement of the Dutch East India Company on the Porta de Santiago in Melaka

The arms show an East India man, and is supported by Victoria on the dexter and a soldier of the Company bearing a shield with the Companies’ cypher VOC, on the sinister.


The cypher of the VOC Chamber of Malacca can be seen on coinage from the time of Dutch rule. It consists of the letters VOC between the capitals I, O and O, (= IO[h]O[r]) for Johor as Malacca was formally a part of the Johor Empire.  [9]



VOC-coin, issued in Malacca, 1778

Showing the cypher of the Malacca VOC Chamber.


In the time of English rule a seal was used in the colony. This showed a seated king. The matrix of the seal, broken, is preserved in the Historical Museum of Melaka. No pictures of the seal could be procured.

A coat of arms was granted to the colony on 14 August 1951. The blasoning of the achievement reads:


Arms: Argent, a Chinese Junk, sails reefed, proper, and a base barry wavy of six pieces Azure and Argent; within a bordure Azure, billety Or; and a canton Argent with a branch of Rhyncostylus retusa, proper. [10]

Crest: On a helmet [to the dexter], lambrequined Argent and Azure, on a wreath of the colors, the Porta the Santiago, Argent.

Motto: EX UNITATE VIRES (Unity is strength). [11]


A new achievement appeared after Melaka joined the federation in 1963. It is:


Arms: Argent, a tree standing on a base both proper; on the dexter a flank Orange and on the  sinister a flank Azure, all below a chief Azure, five krisses per pale Or.

Crest: A crescent and five-pointed star Or.

Supporters: Two mouse deer (Tragulus napu - Tragulidae) proper.

Motto: MELAKA between BERSATU TEGOH (Union Makes Strength) in yellow latin and arab lettering on a blue ribbon.


In this achievement the mouse deer are a symbol of valour, referring to the legend of the king, the dog and the mouse deer mentioned above.

The motto is a translation of the former latin motto EX UNITATE VIRES, itself derived from the motto of the Dutch Republic: CONCORDIA RES PARVÆ CRESCUNT (Unity Makes Things Grow)


ð See illustration at the beginning of this section


Negeri Sembilan




In 1773 the Sultan of Johor granted the title Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan (He Who is Highest Lord of the Nine States) to the Minangkabau prince Melewar. After Raja Melewar's death, a series of disputes arose over the succession.

In 1873, the British intervened militarily in a civil war in Sungai Ujong to preserve British economic interests, and placed the country under the control of a British Resident. Jelebu followed in 1886, and the remaining states in 1895. In 1897, when the Federated Malay States (FMS) was established, Sungai Ujong and Jelebu were reunited to the confederation of small states and the whole, under the old name of the Negeri Sembilan, was placed under a single Resident and became a member of the FMS.

The number of states within Negeri Sembilan has fluctuated over the years, the federation now consists of six states and a number of sub-states under their suzerainty. The former state of Naning was annexed to Malacca, Kelang to Selangor, and Segamat to Johor.

Negeri Sembilan endured Japanese occupation in World War II between 1941 and 1945, and joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and became a state of Malaysia in 1963. 


The first emblem of Negeri Sembilan consisted of nine sheafs of paddy Or, arranged 3, 2 and 1 on a green field.  It is on the coat of arms of the Federated Malay States and occupies the most important place on the shield.

National Monument,

Kuala Lumpur


Probably in 1929, when a new coat of arms for the Federation was adopted, a new coat of arms was also adopted for Negeri Sembilan. It is:

Arms: Tierced per bend Gules, Sable and Or, nine stalks of paddy Or, rising from a listel with the neme of the country in arab lettering, in base a nine pointed star Or; and a bordure Sable fimbriated Argent.

Crest: A flaming trident changgai putri and a kris and its sheath in saltire proper.


The red symbolizes to the British presence, the black the government and the yellow the sovereign

The stalks of paddy, as are the sheafs of paddy in the earlier arms, symbolize the original nine parts of Negeri Sembilan. They refer to the first Minangkabau ruler of Negeri Sembilan. When he arrived at the upper course of the river Muar he was presented a sheaf of paddy and settled there.

The kris and its sheath symbolize justice and the changgai putri staff between them is the symbol of the sovereignty of the Yang Dipertuan Besar  [12]




The weakening of the Johor sultanate and the disputed succession to the sultanate was matched by an increasing independence of the great territorial magnates. In 1853, Tun Muhammad Tahir, renounced his allegiance to the Sultan of Johor and became independent ruler of Pahang. His brother Ahmad  assumed the title of Sultan in 1884, seven years after the death of the last Sultan of the old Johor Royal House.

In 1888 he had to accept a British resident and in 1895 Pahang joined the Federated Malay States together with Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Selangor.

Like others, the Pahang State also suffered during the Japanese occupation of Malaya until the year 1945. Then in 1948, it joined the Federation of Malaya, which gained Independence in 1957.


Rulers of Pahang







Abu Bakr


Haji Ahmad




National Monument

Kuala Lumpur



An emblem for Pahang is in the chief of the arms of the FMS. A new emblem was probably adopted in 1929 together with a new coat of arms for the Federation. It is:


Arms: Per fess Argent and Sable, charged with and emblem Or: A spear and two elephants’tusks in saltire, between the words Ya Latif in arab lettering, and in base a listel wirh the name of the country: STATE OF PAHANG in latin and arab.


Nowadays the shield can be omitted and the name of the state has been changed into ‘NEGERI PAHANG’ .


ð See illustration in the head of this section.


The white and black symbolize the sovereign and the state, personalized by the Sultan and his Prime Minister (Bendahara).


The elephants’ tusks are for the many elephants living in Pahang.

Ya Latif’ is a name of Allah meaning ‘The Subtle One’. It means that He knows the essence of everything and blesses everybody in most subtle ways.

Invoking Him reflects the desire that the Government may rule with moderation and subtlety to the benefit of everybody. [13]






The emblem of the sultan consists of three spears of different shapes per pale, surrounded by a garland of coffee-leaves, all Or. In base is a listel with the title "SULTAN PAHANG". [14]


The coffee-leaves are the emblem of the House of Bendahara, the ruling house of Pahang. They are explained by the story of Ahmed who decided to fight his brother Tahir, then ruler of Pahang, when drinking a cup of coffee.



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© Hubert de Vries 2010.07.18, Updated 2019-08-06




[1] Photo of the floor of the City Hall, shield on the façade of the City Hall.. HdV 16 aug. 1980. 

[2] Brus, René: Kronen van de Wereld. Amsterdam 1992.

[3] Picture by Fox Davies, A.C. in The Art of Heraldry, 1904, p. 273.

[4] Gambier was of great importance for tanning. Gambier extract, when used alone, gives a reddish brown shaded leather with full hand, mellow touch and soft character.

[5] From: Early Settllements under the Johor Crown. In: My Johor. Places and People. 2009.06.01.

[6]  Heraldische Mitteilungen des Vereins zum Kleeblatt, sept. 1893.

[7] On the  National Monument, 1950ca. Also: Robert Bresci and Admiralty’s Flags of All Nations.

[8]  Some data from Kelantan Royal Net.

[9] Pictures from:  http://lunaticg.blogspot.com/2009/09/melaka-coinage-dutch-east-indies.html

[10]  Which may have been the national flower of the time. The actual national flower of Melaka is the Vallabris Glabra - Apocynaceae.

[11] Neubecker, 1974 p. 338.

[12] Acording toldus Information Malaysia, 1978/'79  adding somewhat enigmatic: "This is the origin of  Sri Menenti which means "Rice is Waiting".

[13] Foto Nationaal Monument Kuala Lumpur, aug. 1980.

[14]  Neubecker 1974 p. 355.

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