Exclusive report by Anis Nabilla Md Wazilah dan Fauziah Hasan
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 -- The flag is not just a piece of cloth which is hung or hoisted as decoration, but with its colours and symbols, it represents the sovereignty, honour and dignity of a nation.
Similarly, the Malaysian flag, which is officially known as Jalur Gemilang, replacing the Union Jack of the British colonialists, reflects Malaysia as an independent and sovereign nation,
Each state and federal territory in the country also has its own flag, with symbols and colours representing the values it upholds.
Malaysia Focus, volume 2/2009, published by the Malaysian Information Department, details many interesting facts about the history and meaning of each colour and symbol on the Jalur Gemilang and the flags of the states in Malaysia. It also clearly talks about the proper way to hoist and store the flag (http://dbook.penerangan.gov.my/
Each colour and symbol on the flag of any nation bears specific meaning and must be respected, and cannot be changed or abused. Ignorance of any party of the dignity of their flag is not acceptable.
Commenting on the importance of the flag, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran said the Jalur Gemilang symbolised an independent nation and its dignity must be preserved.
He said in the past, in times of war, the flag would be held high by the warring parties, and if it falls, it meant that side had fallen.
“During the times of the friends of the Prophet, when one warrior broke his right arm, the flag would be carried on the left arm, and vice-versa. This clearly shows the importance of the flag as a symbol of a nation’s dignity and pride,” he told Bernama.
He added that something which has been gazetted as a symbol of a nation must be used according to the set regulations and not left in an inappropriate place which would defile its sovereignty and sanctity.
Mohammad Shatar said stern action must be taken against those who insulted the Jalur Gemilang to ensure that others do not commit the same offence.
Action can be taken against any individual who disrespects the Jalur Gemilang under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1963, and the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949.
Meanwhile, social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said in a statement recently that Malaysians must accord the highest respect to the Jalur Gemilang, and the relevant ministry must work with the media and non-governmental organisations to promote this.
He said Malaysians must be proud of their flag and must never forget that they live in the nation which owns that flag.
He added that it was not just the Jalur Gemilang that must be respected, but also the flag of every state as they symbolised the identity of that state.