Malaysia consists of two large sections in Southeast Asia separated by the China Sea. The biggest cities are both part of the Peninsular Malaysia region. The largest and capital city is Kuala Lumpur located on the mainland of Malaya. George Town, the second largest city, is across the Strait of Malacca on Penang Island. Their combined metro populations of 9.6 million comprise over a third of the country’s total 26 million residents. The British began influencing these areas in 1826. Five years later, they combined them (along with Singapore) into a crown colony called the Straits Settlement. This was followed by the Federated Malay State (1895 – 1941). The Japanese occupied the territory from 1941 until 1945. After World War II, the Malayan Union (1946 – 1948) and then the Federation of Malaya was formed until August, 1957, when a declaration to separate from the British Empire was announced on Hari Merdeka (Independence Day). The Proclamation of Malaysia was formalized in 1963. The current constitutional monarchy is headed by the king (Yang di-Pertuan Agong). The government is managed by the Prime Minister. This is the coat of arms of Malaysia. In Malay, it is called Jata Negara.