United States of America Flag
According to Wikipedia, there is no substantive connection to either flag. However, from the remarkable similarity between the two flags, it is highly likely that the Malaysia flag designed by Mohamad Hamzah of the Public Works Departmen was inspired by the flag of the United States of America.
There are similarities between the two countries in that both have large immigration population or decendents of immigrants, and both are federations of various states. The great difference is that USA stress on assimilation of immigrants and learning and using English while Malaysia allows each races to keep their culture and languages. Malaysia do make Malay (now called Bahasa Malaysia) the official language and Islam the official religion.
According to the original Malaysia Constitution, Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as the official religion, but because of the need to counter the oppositon party PAS (Pan Malaysian Islamic Party or Parti Islam SeMalaysia) which was pushing hard for Malaysia to become an Islamic country, the former Dr. Mahathir declared that Malaysia is already? an Islamic country because Malaysia has assimilated Muslim values in the Government administration, in the Banking system, etc.
There is great fear among the non-Muslim population of the creeping Islamisation of the country as demonstrated by the Lina Joy case, Revathi's case and many other cases. Look at these for example:
Candlelight vigil for Revathi (and for Malaysia)
Candlelight vigil for Revathi (and for Malaysia) Part 2
Unity threatened by continuing infringements of religious freedom booklet.
Families have been broken up because of religion and minor children converted to Islam without the consent of the non-Muslim spouse when the counterpart converted to Islam.
And look what some hardliners are saying and getting away with:
This is a Muslim country, leave Malaysia if you don't like it, says Jerai Member of Parliament.
Update 20 July 2007: The Deputy Prime Minister made a very disturbing announcement that despite what is written in the original Constitution, Malaysia has never been a secular state, but is an Islamic state. And according to Malaysiakini, the Internal Security Ministry has confirmed that they have given a directive to all mainstream media not to publish any news on the issue of Malaysia being an Islamic state. And here is the "clincher": "However, he said newpapers can still publish statements from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Najib Abdul Razak on the country being an Islamic state."
Note: free question mark graphic trying to express my exasperation at the things that goes on in our country with us pretty much being unable to do anything was taken from Free Emphasis Graphics, a link put here as appreciation to be allowed to use their graphic.
Update 21 July 2007: To balance the issues raised here, I will like to add that not all Malaysian Muslims share the view of our Deputy Prime Minister. Here is a courages Muslim blogger Haris Ibrahim who posted an interesting rebuttal to the Deputy Prime Minister statement. I will paste some extract from his article at Najib, bring forth your proof.
"Your late father, according to history, was part of the 1956 delegation that went to London to secure our independence.
Truly, this nation is indebted to your late father, the late Tunku and every freedom fighter of the era for securing independence for our nation.
And a secular Federal Constitution.
Have you not read the Reid Commission report, that document that bears testimony to the selfless work of our leaders of days gone by?
Tun Salleh Abas did, in extenso, in the case of Che Omar Che Soh. I have referred to this in an earlier post entitled ‘Historical and Constitutional Position of Islam Judicially Examined’.
Let me reproduce for you here the relevant excerpt from Tun Salleh’s judgment.
‘…we have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law. Perhaps that argument should be addressed at other forums or at seminars and, perhaps, to politicians and Parliament. Until the law and the system is changed, we have no choice but to proceed as we are doing today.”
"Tunku said : ‘The country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular State with Islam as the official religion’.
"‘Former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn has supported Tunku Abdul Rahman’s view that Malaysia should not be turned into an islamic state…”The nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the offical religion,” he said"
"As one who, like you, professes a belief in Islam, I must ask that you desist in these unfounded contentions.
As you also well know, God in the Holy Qur’an commands that when there is a dispute on an issue, it is proper to call in the evidence of the respective parties.
You say Islamic state.
I say secular.
I have produced my proof.
‘Have you any knowledge with you? If so, bring it forth’ - Surah 6 verse 148 of the Holy Qur’an
Please note that I have refrained from invoking the last part of the verse above. At this juncture, I shall assume you were merely mistaken.
I am obliged to say here that if you insist on continuing to make these assertions without bringing forth your proof, I shall invoke the curse of God as commanded in Surah 3 verse 61 of the Holy Qur’an"
Harris Ibrahim is indeed a brave Muslim blogger. I pray he will not get into any problems.
As usual, I will contact Harris Ibrahim if he has any objection to me putting excerpts of his post here, and will remove them if he object.