National coat of arms (State crest)

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The National Coat of Arms or State crest together with National Flag was designed by a committee headed by Dr Toh Chin Chye. Both the State Crest and the National Flag were launched on 3 December 1959 at the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Negara at the City Hall steps. The State Crest as in the National Flag also uses the five stars and crescent moon. It contains a shield with a red background. On it is an inscription of five white stars in a circle and below the circle of five stars is a white crescent moon to act as balance. Supporting the shield is a lion on the left and a tiger on the right and below the shield is a banner with the inscription Majulah Singapura. The State Crest symbolises Singapore as an independent state. It is also sometimes known as the State Arms of Singapore.

Symbolic Meaning
The State Crest consists of a shield emblazoned with five white stars and a white crescent moon on a red background. Below the shield is a banner with Singapore's motto "Majulah Singapura". Supporting the shield is a lion on the left and a tiger on the right.

The colour red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man, while white signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue. The five stars represent the five ideals of Singapore, democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The lion represents Singapore as the lion City while the tiger symbolises the close economic and political ties between Singapore and Malaya.

Immediately after Singapore gained self-government in 1959, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the then Prime Minister, assigned the task of designing the State Flag and State Crest to a committee headed by Dr Toh Chin Chye who was then the Deputy Prime Minister. Dr Toh wanted the National Symbols to portray the unique identity of Singapore - a multi-racial, multi-cultural and a united people. With this foremost in his mind, the state flag and crest were designed. It was completed in two months. The Bill for the national flag, state crest and national anthem was moved by the then Minister for Culture, Mr S Rajaratnam, and approved by the State Assembly in November 1959.

Extracted from Guidelines on the use of National Symbols (The National Coat of Arms (State Crest). (July 1999). Ministry of Information and the Arts.

Guidelines for Use
1. The National Coat of Arms of Singapore (State Crest) consists of a shield on which is emblazoned a white crescent moon and five white stars against a red background. Supporting the shield shall be a lion on the left and a tiger on the right. Below the shield shall be a banner with the words "Majulah Singapura" inscribed on it.

2. The use of the State Crest for advertisements or any other commercial purpose is prohibited by law. Only government bodies can display the State Crest within their premises. Approval must be sought from the Prime Minister's Office for any other use of the State Crest.

3. The State Crest must be treated with respect and be displayed in a dignified manner.

Zaubidah Mohamed

Ministry of Culture. (1997). Singapore facts and pictures (p. 8). Singapore: Ministry of Culture.
(Call No.: R SING 959.57 SMCFPS)

Ministry of Information and the Arts. (1999). The national symbols kit, [kit]. Singapore: Ministry of Information and the Arts.

No conflict, clear-cut symbol of unity. (1981, August 9). The Straits Times, p. 13.

Singapore Infomap. (2002). National Symbols. National Coats of Arms (State Crest). Retrieved January 25, 2005 from

Further Readings
Singapore. Legislative Assembly. (1959). State arms and flag and national anthem of Singapore. Singapore: Printed at the Govt. Print. Off.
(Call No.: RSING 929.8 SIN)

The information in this article is valid as at 1998 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Politics and Government>>National Symbols
Emblems, National--Singapore
Law and government>>Political ideologies
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Heritage
Law and government>>Political process

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