Flag of Sarawak

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State flag of Sarawak (since 1988)

The flag of the Malaysian state of Sarawak is based on the flag of the Raj of Sarawak of the White Rajah, and includes the yellow of Southeast Asian royalty — a similar yellow and diagonal black are in the flag of Brunei, although Brunei's yellow is of a brighter shade.


James Brooke, originally used the St George's Cross as the state's flag. The decision for Sarawak to have its own flag was made in 1845, but it was not hoisted until 21 September 1848. The first Sarawak flag was originally made up of a cross, half blue and half red, on yellow, thought to be based on Brooke's coat of arms. There is a controversy on whether the first flag was made up of purple and red, or blue and red.

On 7 May 1870, the colour of the half blue cross was changed to black by the second Rajah, Charles Brooke, and was hoisted on 26 September, the birthday of the then Rajah Muda Charles Vyner Brooke. It was retained as a coat-of-arms on a Blue Ensign when Sarawak was ceded to the British Crown on 1 July 1946. The 1870 version saw continued use even after cession, flying side-by-side with the Union Flag. Upon the formation of Malaysia and subsequent independence of the state, the flag remained in use and unchanged until 1973.

The Trisakti was adopted on the 10th anniversary of Sarawak's independence in 1973, and was first hoisted by the then Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Rahman Ya'kub who also designed the flag. Accompanying the new design of the flag is the new state anthem and motto, Sarawak Bahagia ("Peaceful Sarawak") and Hidup Selalu Berkhidmat ("Live to serve"). It resembled an inverted flag of Czechoslovakia (later the Czech flag).

In 1988, the flag was replaced again with the current version along with yet another new state anthem and motto, Ibu Pertiwiku ("My Motherland") and Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti ("United, Striving, Serving"). The new design was adopted on the 25th anniversary of independence of Sarawak within the Federation of Malaysia. It retains the same colour scheme as the flag of the former kingdom, with two significant changes: the cross was replaced with two diagonal bars and the crown was substituted with a nine-pointed star symbolising the original nine divisions of Sarawak, in order to eliminate any overt references to Christianity and a sovereign monarchy.[1]


The "Trisakti" flag (1973-1988)[edit]

On the Trisakti flag, the blue triangle represents unity among the people of Sarawak, red represents courage and perseverance, and white represents honesty and purity.[2]

The current Sarawak state flag (1988-present)[edit]

The nine-pointed star serves to represent the then nine divisions in the state, whilst the colour yellow denotes the importance of upholding the law, unity and stability in diversity.[3]

The red portrays courage and black is the symbol of the abundant natural resources that Sarawak possesses.[3]

Historical flags[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Sarawak at Flags of the World
  • Chater, W. J. (1994), Sarawak Long Ago, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ISBN 983-62-3981-2.


  1. ^ Flag of Sarawak at CRW Flags
  2. ^ Sarawak Makmur Dalam Malaysia, page 50. Malaysian Department of Information, no date.
  3. ^ a b "Colourful variety of flags sets Sarawak apart from other states". The Star. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2018.