100 Years of the Brunei National Flag

I was intrigued by someone who wrote on the cbox asking who was the creator of the Brunei's flag. After going through my resources, I found the story behind the creation of the flag of historical significance to be shared with you all. So here goes.

On 3rd December 1905, Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin signed a Supplementary Agreement with the British which was significant for the relationship between the British Resident and the Sultan:

"His Highness will receive a British Officer, to be styled Resident, and will provide a suitable residence for him. The Resident will be the Agent and Representative of his Britannic Majesty's Government under the High Commissioner for the British Protectorate in Borneo, and his advice must be taken and acted upon on all questions in Brunei, other than those affecting the Mohammedan religion, in order that a similar system may be established to that existing in other Malay States now under protection."

The agreement was also co-signed by the Principal Wazirs at that time: Pengiran Bendahara Sri Maharaja Permaisuara Pangiran Anak Besar Muhammad bin Pengiran Anak Muhammad Tajuddin; and, Pengiran Pemancha Sahib ul-Rae' Wal Mushuarat Pengiran Anak Muhammad Saleh bin Pengiran Maharaja Lela Sahib ul-Kahar Pengiran Anak Abdul Kahar. In agreeing to establish a full protectorate, it allows the British to be responsible for defence and external affairs and to appoint a local Resident to advise the Sultan. This advise extended to the finer points of modern administration, the raising of revenue and fiscal control, although interference in the internal administration of the sultanate forbidden.

The signing of the 1906 agreement also brought into existence the national flag in its present form, except for the crest which was added in 1959. Prior to 1906, Brunei Darussalam did not have a national flag but personal standards were widely used which were granted by the Sultan. The standards belonging to His Majesty (yellow) and the four Wazirs (Viziers) - Pengiran Bendahara (white), Pengiran Digadong (green), Pengiran Pemancha (black) and Pengiran Temenggong (purple) - were the most important. (The title Pengiran Perdana Wazir as the head of the Wazirs was created in 1970).

The colour scheme of the Brunei Darussalam flag adopted in 1906 was therefore the colours of the principal signatories to the 1906 Agreement which were the colours of the Sultan (yellow), Pengiran Bendahara (white) and Pengiran Pemancha (black). So you know where the Brunei flag colours come from. It is not known who was the principal proponent for the Brunei flag and the use of the Brunei colours - most likely it was done by a committee. So, this year, 2006 marks 100 years that the Brunei flag had been in use.

However, the current Brunei flag together with the crest was adopted on 29th September 1959 with the promulgation of the 1959 Brunei Constitution. The mast and pedestal of the crest represent the three levels of government. The elements of the crest are the flag (Bendera) and the Royal Umbrella (Payong Ubor-Ubor) based on ancient royal regalia. The wings (Sayap), each made up of four feathers symbolize justice, tranquility, peace and prosperity. The hands (Kimhap) signify that the government preserves and promotes the welfare of the citizens. The crescent (Bulan) stands for Islam, the state religion. The state slogan, written in Arabic script on the crescent means 'Always in Service with God's guidance'. The name of the state 'Brunei Darussalam' appears on the ribbon or the scroll.

In addition to complete the picture, in 1946, the Brunei National Song was composed by Awang Besar Sagap. In 1953, the national song, Allah Peliharakan Sultan was officially declared. The national anthem can be downloaded from the main website bruneiresources.com as a singing version or instrumental version.


Anonymous said…
No plans to celebrate the 100 years of the flag?
Anonymous said…
Allah peliharakan Sultan.. it is like "God save the King/Queen"..
Anonymous said…
weren't the lyrics of the national anthem composed by someone else, Pg Yura Halim if I'm not mistaken?
Nonnie King said…
Wow. 100 years already huh
rose said…
someone should inform borneo bulletin about it hehe... then everybody in Brunei will know...
Anonymous said…
According to my grandfather, Brunei used to have a plain flag with no panji-panji.The Panji-panji was proposed by the first Brunei sailor known as Haji Awang Kapal.. Who is this Haji Awang kapal?
Anonymous said…
I remember during an interview with an investment agency, I was asked what was the colours of the Brunei flag's are and what it represents?

I knew what the colours are but couldn't for the life of me remember what they meant. Except for Yellow and the Panji-panji for obvious reason.
Anonymous said…
wah..to anonymous number three....bukannya Sagap basar or Basar Sagap kah yg compose? history lessons primary school...Mr BR please clarify
True, the music was composed by Awang Besar Sagap but the lyrics were done by Yura Halim.

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