The Coat of Arms of Malaysia includes the basic elements: the crest, the shield and the motto.
The crest of the crescent and star bears the same meaning and design as that of the Jalur Gemilang. The crescent is the traditional symbol of Islam, the official religion of Malaysia; while the 14-pointed star represents the equal status of the 13 states of the federation, and their unity with the Federal Government. Originally the 14th point represented Singapore, but after Singapore opted to leave the federation in 1963, the star came to represent the Federal Government.
The five kris (or keris) in the chief (upper section of the shield) represent the former Unfederated Malay States of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu; states that joined the Federation in 1948.
The four single-colour fields represent the former Federated Malay States of Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Selangor; states that first formed a union in 1900 resulting in the present Federation of Malaysia. The permutations of the colours red, black, white and yellow make up the colours of these states. Red, black and yellow are for Negri Sembilan; black and white for Pahang; black, white and yellow for Perak; and red and yellow for Selangor.
The two fields on either sides of the shield show the arms of Penang and Malacca; former Straits Settlements that joined the Federation in 1948. The left field, with the Pinang tree, represents the state of Penang; while the right field, with the Melaka tree, the state of Malacca.
The states of Sabah and Sarawak, which joined the Federation in 1963, are represented by the left and right fields at base, respectively. The central field depicts the bunga raya or hibiscus which is the national flower.
Flanking the shield are tigers, a design retained from the earlier armorial ensign of the Federation of Malaya (and before that, of the Federated Malay States).
Below the shield is a yellow scroll which contains a motto, printed in Malay and Arabic, that translates as “Unity is Strength”. The colour yellow is the royal colour.
The present National Arms has gone through a number of changes. For instance, the plumes and feathers which once adorned the left field in the shield, representing the state of Penang, have been replaced by the present arms of the state (the Pinang tree).