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Malaysian Armed Forces
Angkatan Tentera Malaysia
Flag of the Malaysian Armed Forces
Founded 16 September 1963
Service branches Flag of the Malaysian Army Malaysian Army
Naval Ensign of Malaysia Royal Malaysian Navy
Royal Malaysian Air Force Flag Royal Malaysian Air Force
Commander-in-Chief Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong
Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein
Chief of Armed Forces General Zulkifeli Mohd. Zin
Military age 18 years of age
Available for
military service
14,817,517, age 16–49 (2011 est)
Fit for
military service
12,422,580, age 16–49 (2011 est)
Reaching military
age annually
519,280 (2011 est)
Active personnel 110,000[1]
Reserve personnel 296,300
Budget US$4.2 billion (in 2014)[2]
Percent of GDP 2.0% (in 2013)
Domestic suppliers Airod
Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd
Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd
DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies
Composites Technology Research Malaysia
Malaysian Marine and Heavy Engineering
Malaysian International Shipping Corporation
SME Ordnance
Foreign suppliers Flag of Australia Australia[3]
Flag of Belgium (civil) Belgium[3]
Flag of Brazil Brazil[3]
Flag of Canada Canada[3]
Flag of the People's Republic of China China[3]
Flag of France France[3]
Flag of Germany Germany[3]
Flag of Italy Italy[3]
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands[3]
Flag of North Korea North Korea[3]
Flag of Russia Russia[3]
Flag of Singapore Singapore[3]
Flag of South Africa South Africa[3]
Flag of Sweden Sweden[3]
Flag of Turkey Turkey[3]
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom[3]
United States[3]
Related articles
History Military history of Malaysia
Ranks Malaysian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF, Malay language: Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM), the military of Malaysia, consists of three branches; the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN, Malay: Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia-TLDM), the Malaysian Army (Malay: Tentera Darat Malaysia-TD) and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF, Malay: Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia-TUDM). General Zulkefli Zin is the Chief of Defence Forces.


Malaysian Armed Forces
Malaysian Army Flag of the Malaysian Army
Royal Malaysian Navy Naval Ensign of Malaysia
Royal Malaysian Air Force Ensign of the Royal Malaysian Air Force
Military history of Malaysia
Related information
Awards & decorations
Special Operations Force
National service
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 16-49: 7,501,518
females age 16-49: 7,315,999
(2010 est.)
Fit For service males age 16-49: 6,247,306
females age 16-49: 6,175,274
(2010 est.)
Of age / year males: 265,008
females: 254,812
(2010 est.)
Military expenditure
Dollar figure 5.4 billion
% of GDP 1.4%

Source :
IHS Jane's

Malaysia's armed forces originated from the formation of local military forces in the first half of the 20th century, during British colonial rule of Malaya and Singapore prior to Malaya's independence in 1957. Its role is to defend the sovereignty and strategic interests of Malaysia from all forms of threat.[citation needed]

It is responsible for assisting civilian authorities to overcome all international threats, preserve public order, assist in natural disasters and participate in national development programs. It is also sustaining and upgrading its capabilities in the international sphere to uphold the national foreign policy of being involved under the guidance of the United Nations (UN).

Theatre of operations[]

The main theatres of operations were within Malaysian borders, primarily to fight an insurgency led by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in what was known as the Emergency. The only foreign incursion of Malaysian territory in modern times were in World War II by Japan (Malaya was then not a unified political entity and consisted of the British Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements, and the British protected Federated Malay States and Unfederated Malay States) and during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation by Indonesia under the leadership of President Sukarno. Operations on foreign soil have mainly been peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations.

  • First Emergency (1948–1960)
    An insurrection and guerrilla war of the Malayan Races Liberation Army organised by the CPM against the British and Malayan administration.
  • Congo Peacekeeping Mission (1960–1962)
    A contingent of 1,947 personnel were dispatched as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo or ONUC. This contingent was known as the Malayan Special Force to the Congo and their experiences there were later recounted through the drawings of the cartoonist, Rejabhad.
  • Sarawak Communist Insurgency (1963–1990)
    An insurrection and guerrilla war of the Sarawak Communist Organisation (from 1971, the North Kalimantan Communist Party or NKCP) against the British and Malaysian governments to establish an independent nation comprising the states of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. The insurgency ended when the NKCP signed a peace treaty with the Malaysian government in 1990.
  • Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation (1963–1966)
    An intermittent armed conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia with skirmishes mainly occurring in Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo. In 1964, armed raids were made on Peninsular Malaysia. Combat eased with the deposing of Indonesia's President Sukarno in 1965 by the Indonesian army and the conflict was declared over by both sides in 1966.
  • Communist Insurgency War (1967–1989)
    A low level resurgence of insurgent activity by the armed elements of the CPM from sanctuaries in the Malaysian-Thai border. The insurgency was only ended after the CPM signed a peace treaty with the Governments of Malaysia and Thailand on 2 December 1989.
  • Iran/Iraq Border (1988–1991)
    Participated as part of the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) to supervise the Iran–Iraq War ceasefire.
  • Namibia (1989–1990)
    Contributed a battalion to the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) to supervise Namibia's elections and transition to independence.
  • Western Sahara (1991–present)
    A contingent of observers under the Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to help implement a ceasefire between the Polisario Front & Morocco and help promote referendum on area's future.
  • Angola (1991–1995)
    A contingent was sent under the United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II) to enforce the ceasefire in Angolan civil war.
  • Iraq/Kuwait Border (1992–2003)
    A contingent was sent under the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) to monitor the demilitarised zone along the Iraq-Kuwait border, deter border violations and report on any hostile action.
  • Cambodia (1992–1993)
    An observer team was sent under the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) to aid in the administration of Cambodia and to organise and run elections.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993–1998)
    A peacekeeping contingent known as MALBATT Command (Malaysia Battalion) was sent initially under the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) from 1993–1995 with deployments at Konjic, Jablanica and Pazarić in Hadžići. Following the Dayton Agreement, forces were redeployed as MALCON Command (Malaysia Contingent) under the NATO led Implementation Force (IFOR) in Operation Joint Endeavor with deployments at Livno, Glamoč and Kupres. MALCON further participated as part of the NATO led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) until 1998. Up to 8,000 troops were eventually deployed in this theatre of operations.
  • Liberia (1993–1997)
    An observer team of 3 officers was sent under the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) to support the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Liberian National Transitional Government to implement peace agreements signed between the warring parties in Liberia.
  • Somalia (1993–1994)
    A contingent known as MALBATT was sent under the United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) to take appropriate action, including enforcement measures, to establish throughout Somalia a secure environment for humanitarian assistance. During its deployment, MALBATT was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu which saw 1 personnel killed in action and 7 others wounded in action during the relief operations to aid the surrounded troops of the United States' Task Force Ranger. On 18 January 1994, Lieutenant General Aboo Samah Bin Aboo Bakar was appointed the Commander of UNOSOM II forces. His appointment also saw the United Nations revise the mandate of UNOSOM II to stop using "coercive methods" in the discharge of their duties while retaining "some capability to defend its personnel if circumstances so warrant."[4]
  • Mozambique (1993–1995)
  • A team of observers were sent under the United Nations Operations in Mozambique (ONUMOZ).
  • 2013 Lahad Datu standoff
Istana Negara KL 2007 004

Royal guard of the Malaysian Army outside the main gate of the Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur

  • Deployed a contingent called MASMEDTIM/Malaysian Medical Team to Chaman, Pakistan to treat refugees from Afghanistan during the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
  • Deployed approximately a brigade-sized force on islands surrounding Sabah waters in Ops Pasir to prevent the recurrence of Sipadan kidnapping.
  • Deployed a contingent to Acheh after the tsunami disaster in 2004.
  • Deployed MASMEDTIM to Pakistan during the 2005 quake.
  • Deployed in Southern Philippines as a part of monitoring force agreed upon by both the Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front/MILF.
  • Deployed in East Timor/East Leste together with Australian, Portuguese and New Zealand forces at the request of East Timor Government. The first team of 25 soldiers from 10 Para Brigade, Royal Intelligence Corp and Commando Regiment were deployed on a fact-finding mission before being reinforced by another 209 soldiers. (as at 27 May 2006)
  • Deployed in South Lebanon on peace keeping role at present after the withdrawal of Israeli Military forces early 2007 (Invasion of South Lebanon by Israeli Military). Unit mainly consist of GGK,PASKAL, PASKAU and PARA elements.

Other limited participation under UNPKO are United Nations International Police Force (UNIPTF) since December 1995; United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since Jun 1999; United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) since October 1999; United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) since September 1999 and United Nations Organisation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) since February 2000.

18 Malaysian Armed Forces personnel have been killed during UN peacekeeping operations.

Current developments[]

CARAT Malaysia 2009 (090701-N-1722M-231)

Soldiers from the Malaysian Army 9th Royal Malay Regiment with a M4 Carbine carry out a beach assault with US Marines during a combined amphibious landing exercise on the final day of CARAT Malaysia 2009.

Scorpene Tunku Abdul Rahman

Malaysia's first Scorpène class submarine docked at the naval base in Port Klang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on 3 September 2009.

Royal Malaysian Air Force 005

Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers, Mig-29s and Aermacchi MB-339s of the Royal Malaysian Air Force at Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2009

Malaysian defence requirements are assigned to the Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia – ATM . The armed forces has three branches, the Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia – TLDM), Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia – TD), and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia – TUDM). Malaysia does not have conscription, and the required age for voluntary military service is 18.[5]

In the early 1990s, Malaysia undertook a major program to expand and modernise its armed forces. However, budgetary constraints imposed by the 1997 financial crisis held many of the procurements. The recent economic recovery may lead to relaxation of budgetary constraints on the resumption of major weapons purchases. In October 2000 the Defense Minister also announced a review of national defence and security policy to bring it up to date. The review addressed new security threats that have emerged in the form of low intensity conflicts, such as the kidnapping of Malaysians and foreigners from resort islands located off the east coast of the state of Sabah and risk rising territory dispute with several neighbour countries. Currently, 1.9% of Malaysia's GDP is spent on the military, which hires 1.23% of Malaysia's manpower.[5] Dr Kogila Balakrishnan is the head of the Defence Industry.

Malaysian Army[]

Since the recovery from the 1997 economic crisis, the armies modernisation programme gained momentum.

Royal Malaysian Navy[]

The RMN Future Fleet programme is component of second batch of Lekiu class frigates, Scorpène class submarines, New Generation Patrol Vessels (NGPV), Multi-Purpose Support Ship (MPSS) and maritime patrol aircraft. The goal is to build a six vessels squadron of each class by 2020.

Royal Malaysian Air Force[]

TUDM has traditionally looked to the West for its purchases, primarily to the United States. However, limitation imposed by the United States on "new technology" to the region such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM fire and forget air to air missiles has made TUDM consider purchases from Russia and other non-traditional sources.

National Service[]

In early 2004, the Ministry of Defense also initiated a compulsory National Service program for 18 years old Malaysians. Participants of the Malaysian National Service are chosen randomly. Currently, only 20% of those eligible are inducted but plans call for this program to eventually cover all 18-year olds. Although under the purview of the Ministry of Defence, the National Service is not a military programme. Draftees are taught basic hand-to-hand combat and handling of certain weapons, including Colt M16s by military instructors, but are not expected to be conscripted or called into military draft. It is described as a nation and community building programme and incorporate other training modules including character learning and civics.

Defence Research and Development[]

In light of the increasing crude oil price worldwide, the military had volunteered in a pioneering program to use biodiesel. By next year (2007), all diesel-type vehicle in the Malaysian Armed Forces will be using biodiesel consisting of 95% diesel and 5% oil palm diesel.

Although MoD announced a redraw from funding the Eagle ARV research program. Composite Technology and Research Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (CTRM) joined venture with Kramatic Systems Sdn. Bhd. (IKRAMATIC) and System Consultancy Services Sdn. Bhd.(SCS) had come close with another development, the ALUDRA MK I/MK II. It was reported during the LIMA 07, Malaysian army and Joint Forces Command had showed strong interest toward the indigenous tactical UAV.

There is also a new development unveiled during the celebration of the Malaysia's 50th independence. It is a laser guide projectile code name Taming Sari XK98, but no further details were enclosed. It was first spotted by the public when it participated the celebration parade.

M4 Carbine Procurement[]

During the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2006, Malaysia announced that the US made M4 carbine service rifle will replace the Austrian made Steyr AUG service rifle for all three Malaysian Armed Forces services. This decision has been finalised. Malaysia had also obtained a licensed product line of the rifle under SME Ordnance. The first batch of the weapon is expected to be delivered by year 2008.


On 18 July 2007, five days after the wreckage of a Nuri (Sikorsky Sea King S-61A4) helicopter was found near Genting Sempah, Pahang, Defense Minister Najib Razak announced that the Malaysian government will call soon for an international tender for new helicopters to replace the ageing fleet. In September 2008, Malaysia announced the selection of the EC 725[6] for an initial order of 12 helicopters. However the contract award has been indefinitely delayed due to budgetary constraints. Eurocopter signed a co-operation contract with the Malaysian Ministry of Defence at the 49th Paris air show in June 2011, related to the supply of the 12 EC 725 helicopters to Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) for search and rescue (SAR) operations. These new aircraft will replace the existing fleet of Sikorsky S-61 Sea King rotorcraft. Deliveries will begin in 2012 and are expected to conclude in 2014.


DSA 2008[]

On 21 April 2008, first days of DSA 2008 Ministry Of Defence Malaysia has made a new procument worth RM1.2 billion (USD375 million). The new procument involving 8 unit ACV-S 300 (Mobile Armor Mortar Carrier – 120mm), additional 30 unit ACV 300 with various variant from local firm DRB Hicom Technologies Sdn Bhd (DEFTECH) which expected full delivery on 2010. Another procument involving new 85 HUMVEE Spain version from Master Defence Sdn Bhd, of which 25 are as Igla platform carrier and the rest configured in AGL/HMG role.

Marines corps[]

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement on 10 October 2013, Malaysia is planning on establishing a marines corps for amphibious operation.[7] The marine will be drawn from all three services and the bulk of it is from one of the three parachute battalions of the 10 Paratrooper Brigade which will be re-designated as a marine battalion. The 9th Royal Malay Regiment (para) and 8th Royal Ranger Regiment (para) have both conducted amphibious warfare training as a secondary mission and most recently in June 2013 during the CARAT exercise with the US Marine Corps (USMC) and subsequently in an amphibious landing exercise with French troops and the landing platform dock FNS Tonnerre. Malaysian government has yet to decide whether the marines will fall under Malaysian Army or Royal Malaysian Navy.

International actions[]

The Five Power Defence Arrangement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, is a regional security initiative which has been in place for almost 40 years. It involves joint military exercises held between the 5 countries.[8]

Joint exercises and war games have been held with Indonesia for years.[9] Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to host joint exercises between their security forces, to secure their maritime border and tackle issues such as illegal immigration.[10]

There are fears that unrest in the Muslim areas of the southern Philippines[11] and southern Thailand[12] could spill over into Malaysia.

See also[]


  1. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Malaysian Armed Forces". 
  2. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (October 28, 2013). "Malaysian army received $4.2 billion to tighten border security in the 2014 defense budget.". 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16
  4. UN Chronicle: "Mandate for UNOSOM II revised; 'coercive methods' not to be used – UN Operation in Somalia emphasizes nation building", June 1994
  5. 5.0 5.1 Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Malaysian Military statistics". NationMaster. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  7. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Malaysia to establish marine corps, naval base close to James Shoal". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  8. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (26 April 2010). "Australia says major military exercise underway in Malaysia". My Sinchew. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  9. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (13 September 2010). "Indonesia-Malaysia military exercises must continue – defence minister". ANTARA News. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  10. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (9 August 2010). "Malaysia, Philippines committed to enhancing border security". My Sinchew. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  11. John Pike Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Malaysia Intensifies Border Security Following US Warnings". Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  12. Kent, Jonathan (28 April 2004). "Asia-Pacific | Malaysia ups Thai border security". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 

Further reading[]

External links[]

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