Emblem of Malaysia

Emblem of Malaysia

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The Coat of Arms of Malaysia (Jata Negara in Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

) is a coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 comprising a shield or escutcheon, two tigers for supporters
Supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

, a crescent and fourteen point star for a crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

 and a motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

). As the Malaysian emblem descended from the coat of arms of the Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

 under British colonial rule
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, the current emblem of the Malaysian state resembles European heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 practices.

Design


The Coat of Arms of Malaysia consists of a shield guarded by two supporters
Supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

 as rampant tigers
Malayan Tiger
The Malayan tiger is a tiger subspecies that inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula and has been classified as endangered by IUCN in 2008 as the population was estimated at 493 to 1,480 adult individuals in 2003; none of the three subpopulations likely harbors more than 250...

. The shield is topped by a crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

 consisting of a yellow crescent
Crescent
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

 with a 14-pointed "federal star", and includes a motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

, depicted as a banner, at the bottom.

Crest or helm (crescent and federal star)


The yellow colour of the crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

, a crescent
Crescent
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points .In astronomy, a crescent...

 and a 14-pointed federal star, symbolises the country's monarchy
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence....

. The crescent also represents Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as the official religion while the federal star represents the thirteen states
States of Malaysia
Malaysia is a federation which consists of thirteen states and three federal territories . Eleven states and two federal territories are located on the Malay Peninsula while the remaining two states and one federal territory are on the island of Borneo.-The states and federal territories:Malaysia...

 and the Federal Territories of Malaysia.

Originally, the fourteen-pointed star represented the original fourteen states of Malaysia, which included Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. It was not changed when Singapore left the federation, but it has generally been accepted that the 14th point represents the Federal Territories.

Escutcheon (shield)


The escutcheon, represented by a shield
Shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

, is primarily intended to serve as a representation of states unified under the Malaysian federation, and is subdivided into ten divisions
Division of the field
In heraldry, the field of a shield can be divided into more than one area of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name...

.

The upper portion or chief
Chief (heraldry)
In heraldic blazon, a chief is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the top edge of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by the chief, ranging from one-fourth to one-third. The former is more likely if the...

 of the shield contains five kris
Kris
The kris or keris is an asymmetrical dagger or sword nowadays most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia, but also indigenous to Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Brunei. It is known as kalis in the southern Philippines. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade , but many have...

es on a red background, representing the five former Unfederated Malay States
Unfederated Malay States
The term Unfederated Malay States was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu...

, Johor
Johor
Johor is a Malaysian state, located in the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The state capital city and royal city of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly known as Tanjung Puteri...

e, Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

, Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

, Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

 and Perlis
Perlis
Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. It is bordered by the state of Kedah to the south...

. The remainder of the shield, which in the coat of arms of Malaya was divided in three per pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

(longitudinally) between the former Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

, Penang
Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

 and Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

, is now divided into four sections:
  • In the dexter (left from the observer's point of view) section is the Pinang palm
    Areca catechu
    Areca catechu is the areca palm or areca nut palm, , a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The palm is believed to have originated in either Malaysia or the Philippines...

     along with the Penang Bridge
    Penang Bridge
    Penang Bridge is a dual carriageway toll bridge connects Gelugor on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. The bridge is also linked to the North-South Expressway in Prai and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang. It was officially opened to...

     representing Penang
    Penang
    Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

  • In the upper middle of the shield, below the row of krises, are the colours of the Federated Malay States (red, black, white and yellow) arranged from left to right. The permutations of the colours red, black, white and yellow make up the colors of these states' flags. Red, black and yellow are for Negeri Sembilan
    Negeri Sembilan
    Negeri Sembilan, one of the 13 states that constitutes Malaysia, lies on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur and borders Selangor on the north, Pahang in the east, and Malacca and Johor to the south....

    ; black and white for Pahang
    Pahang
    Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.Its state...

    ; black, white and yellow for Perak
    Perak
    Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

    ; and red and yellow for Selangor
    Selangor
    Selangor also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity") is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west...

    .
  • In the lower middle of the shield, there are three sections formerly representing the new (in 1963) states of Sabah, Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

     and Sarawak. Since 1965, Singapore's section has been replaced by a depiction of the national flower, the hibiscus.
  • In the sinister (right from the observer's point of view) section is the "Malacca" tree
    Indian gooseberry
    Phyllanthus emblica , the Indian gooseberry, or aamla, is a deciduous tree of the Phyllanthaceae family. It is known for its edible fruit of the same name.-Plant anatomy and harvesting:...

     representing Malacca

Supporters (tigers)


The two rampant tigers
Malayan Tiger
The Malayan tiger is a tiger subspecies that inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula and has been classified as endangered by IUCN in 2008 as the population was estimated at 493 to 1,480 adult individuals in 2003; none of the three subpopulations likely harbors more than 250...

 supporting
Supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

 the shield are traditional Malay symbols. They are retained from the earlier armorial ensign of the Federation of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

, and prior to that of the Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

. They symbolise strength and courage.

Motto (banner)


The motto
Motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 of the arms, located below the shield, consists of a banner with the phrase "Unity is Strength" (Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu) written in both romanized Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 and Jawi. The original English phrase was replaced by romanised Malay some time after independence.

Federated Malay States and Malayan Union


The origins of the Malaysian coat of arms can be traced to the formation of the Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

 (FMS) under the colonial rule of the United Kingdom
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. In conjunction with the introduction of the flag of the Federated Malay States
Flag of the Federated Malay States
The flag of the Federated Malay States represented the union of the four Malay states of Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang in a federation as a protectorate under the British Crown....

 in 1895, the FMS coat of arms was adopted and remained in use from 1895 to the formation of the Federation of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

 in 1948.

The arms, like its modern successors, included a shield, two tigers, and a banner, but depicts an eastern crown
Crown (headgear)
A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

 on the helm, representing the four sultanates. The shield's design was also significantly simpler; as the FMS consists of only four states, the shield encompassed a quarterly "party per cross" division
Division of the field
In heraldry, the field of a shield can be divided into more than one area of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name...

 representing the colours of the flag of the four FMS (in the same way the flag of the FMS represents the states, and the colours in the modern Malaysian arms represent the same states). The motto was also originally written in Jawi as "Dipelihara Allah" (Under God's (Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

's) Protection) flanked by two eight-pointed stars. Dipelihara Allah is today the Selangor
Selangor
Selangor also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity") is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west...

 state motto.

While the establishment of the Malayan Union
Malayan Union
The Malayan Union was a federation of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government so as to simplify administration. The Malayan Union later became the independent...

 in 1946 brought about the merging of the FMS with the five Unfederated Malay States
Unfederated Malay States
The term Unfederated Malay States was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu...

 and two of the Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 (excluding Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

), the FMS arms remained in use unchanged as the Union's coat of arms for two years before the Union's dissolution.

Federation of Malaya


The founding of the Federation of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

 in 1948 led to a revision of the arms. Among the changes were a more complete representation the 11 states of the federation on the shield (where new partitions containing insignias of the additional states added over and beside the original FMS colours), the replacement of the eastern crown with a yellow crescent and a 11-pointed federal star (symbols representing the 11 states that were derived from the flag of the Federation of Malaya
Flag of Malaysia
-Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:The Jalur Gemilang flag anthem was introduced in 1997. The lyrics were written by Pak Ngah.-Original lyrics:-Flag anthem:...

). The original Jawi motto was also replaced with "Unity is Strength" in both English and Jawi Malay.

At the point of adoption, the shield was composed of the following elements:
  • In chief, the five krises representing the Unfederated Malay States;
  • In pale, the quartered colours of the FMS;
  • In dexter, the Prince of Wales's feathers
    Prince of Wales's feathers
    The Prince of Wales's feathers is the heraldic badge of the Heir Apparent to the British and Commonwealth Realms thrones. It consists of three white feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the motto Ich dien...

    , crenellation, and waves from the Penang coat of arms
    Coat of arms of Penang
    The civic coats of arms of Penang are largely based on the coat of arms of Penang first granted to the Settlement of Penang, then in the Federation of Malaya, by a Royal Warrant of King George VI dated 11 September 1949....

    ; and
  • In sinister, and gate of A Famosa
    A Famosa
    A Famosa is a Portuguese fortress located in Malacca, Malaysia. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only remaining part of the fortress still standing....

    from the Malaccan coat of arms
    Coat of arms of Malacca
    The Coat of arms of Malacca is the official coat of arms of the Malaysian state of Malacca. The various colours on the arms indicate that the state is part of the Federation of Malaysia...

    .

Malaysia



The arms was amended a second time after the formation of Malaysia
Malaysia Day
Malaysia Day is held on September 16 every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. It marked the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia...

, with the admission of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and the Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 states of North Borneo
North Borneo
North Borneo was a British protectorate under the sovereign North Borneo Chartered Company from 1882 to 1946. After the war it became a crown colony of Great Britain from 1946 to 1963, known in this time as British North Borneo. It is located on the northeastern end of the island of Borneo. It is...

 (Sabah
Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

) and the Colony of Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 in 1963. The increase in the federation's number of states resulted in the modification of FMS' original party per cross layout into a single row of four panels to support the three new member states at the bottom, and the widening of the shield. The tigers were redesigned to assume different positions of limbs (front limbs reaching over and behind the shield, and rear limbs reaching over the motto and the shield), and minor adjustments were also made on the appearance of the banner and the length of the crescent, while the 11-pointed federal star was updated to include 14 points. In tandem with the declaration of Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 as Malaysia's national language, the English motto was replaced with a Malay counterpart.

The three new divisions at the bottom of the shield originally represented, from left to right, Sabah, Singapore and Sarawak, and would remain so following the expulsion of Singapore in 1965 until a third modification of the arms in 1973. Singapore was originally represented by a white crescent and a pentagon of five small white five-pointed stars against a red field, all of which were derived from the shield of its state coat of arms
Coat of arms of Singapore
The coat of arms of Singapore was adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. The committee that created it, headed by then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye, was also responsible for the national flag and the national anthem...

. By 1973, a hibiscus was added in place of Singapore's insignia.

At the time of the arm's 1963 revision, the arms received an additional change on Malacca's colonial A Famosa insignia, which was replaced by a Malacca tree
Indian gooseberry
Phyllanthus emblica , the Indian gooseberry, or aamla, is a deciduous tree of the Phyllanthaceae family. It is known for its edible fruit of the same name.-Plant anatomy and harvesting:...

. Other state insignias would follow suit when the arms was modified in the following years, in an effort to eliminate remaining colonial connotations and suggestive symbols of non-Islamic religions. Penang's Prince of Wales's feathers and crenellation were gradually replaced, by first substituting the feathers with a Pinang palm
Areca catechu
Areca catechu is the areca palm or areca nut palm, , a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The palm is believed to have originated in either Malaysia or the Philippines...

 and, later, the crenellation with the Penang Bridge
Penang Bridge
Penang Bridge is a dual carriageway toll bridge connects Gelugor on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. The bridge is also linked to the North-South Expressway in Prai and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway in Penang. It was officially opened to...

 (which was constructed and completed during the 1980s). Sarawak's insignia of its pre-1963 cross-and-crown arms was replaced by its more current hornbill
Hornbill
Hornbills are a family of bird found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly-colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Both the common English and the scientific name of the family...

-based state arms; similarly, Sabah, which was originally represented by only its flag held up by a pair of arms from its pre-1963 state coat of arms, was revised to fully feature its current state arms in entirety.

A later revision also resulted in a more realistic and aggressive appearance of the tigers.

Uses


The arms is adopted on several state flags. The Royal Standard of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence....

, the flag of the Federal Territories
Flag of Federal Territory
The flag of the Federal Territory is an official flag of the Federal Territory, Malaysia. It was adopted on May 23, 2006.- Symbolism :The flag of Federal Territory is used to represent the Federal Territory as a whole...

 and the flag of Putrajaya
Flag of Federal Territory
The flag of the Federal Territory is an official flag of the Federal Territory, Malaysia. It was adopted on May 23, 2006.- Symbolism :The flag of Federal Territory is used to represent the Federal Territory as a whole...

all feature the arms charged in the centre largely unmodified.

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