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Malaysian Armed Forces

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Title: Malaysian Armed Forces  
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Malaysian Armed Forces

Malaysian Armed Forces
Angkatan Tentera Malaysia

Flag and Crest of the Malaysian Armed Forces
Founded 16 September 1963
Service branches Malaysian Army
Royal Malaysian Navy
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 5.4 billion(FY2015)[2]
Percent of GDP 1.4% (FY2015)
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers  Australia[3]
 European Union[3]
 South Africa[3]
 South Korea[3]
 United Kingdom[3]
 United States[3]
Related articles
History Military history of Malaysia
Ranks Malaysian Armed Forces ranks and insignia
Malaysian Armed Forces
Malaysian Army
Royal Malaysian Navy
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

The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF, Malay: Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM), the military of Malaysia, consists of three branches:

As of 2014 General Zulkefli Zin serves as the Chief of Defence Forces.


  • Background 1
  • Theatre of operations 2
  • Current developments 3
    • Malaysian Army 3.1
    • Royal Malaysian Navy 3.2
    • Royal Malaysian Air Force 3.3
    • National Service 3.4
    • Defence Research and Development 3.5
    • M4 Carbine Procurement 3.6
    • Highlight 3.7
    • DSA 2008 3.8
    • Marines corps 3.9
  • International actions 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


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.

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.

(The rest of the entries below require a )

Royal guard of the Malaysian Army outside the main gate of the Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur
  • Deployed a contingent called Malaysian Medical Team (MASMEDTIM) 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 2000 Sipadan kidnappings.
  • 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 June 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

Malaysian Armed Forces assets
An examples of Malaysian Armed Forces main weaponry assets. Clockwise from top right: Scorpène class submarine, PT-91M MBT tank, Malaysian Army paratrooper with M4A1, and Su-30MKM fighter aircraft.

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.
Malaysia's first Scorpène class submarine docked at the naval base in Port Klang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on 3 September 2009.
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 minimum 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 Asian 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 Defence 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, 1.4% of Malaysia's GDP is spent on the military, which employs 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 army's modernisation program gained momentum.

Royal Malaysian Navy

The RMN's Lekiu class frigate second batch have been cancelled in 2009. Following the completion of the Kedah-class offshore patrol vessel, Malaysia's New Generation Patrol Vessel (NGPV) program, Malaysia has ordered six Second Generation Patrol Vessel. Malaysia is also looking to purchase 2 more Scorpène-class submarines, as well as a batch of Multi-Purpose Support Ship (MPSS) and maritime patrol aircraft.

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 Defence 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, Defence 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 Eurocopter EC725[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 also been held with Brunei,[9] China,[10] Indonesia[11] and the United States.[12] Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to host joint security force exercises to secure their maritime border and tackle issues such as illegal immigration, piracy and smuggling.[13][14][15]

There are fears that extremist militants activities in the Muslim areas of the southern Philippines[16] and southern Thailand[17] would spill over into Malaysia.

See also


  1. ^ "Malaysian Armed Forces". 
  2. ^ "Jane's". Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Arms Transfers".  
  4. ^ UN Chronicle: "Mandate for UNOSOM II revised; 'coercive methods' not to be used – UN Operation in Somalia emphasizes nation building", June 1994
  5. ^ a b "Malaysian Military statistics". NationMaster. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "EC 725 Cougar Medium Multimission Helicopter, France". Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Malaysia to establish marine corps, naval base close to James Shoal". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Australia says major military exercise underway in Malaysia". My Sinchew. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Wood, Daniel (20 April 2014). "Brunei, M'sia train in 11th military exercise". The Brunei Times. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Joint table top exercise between armies of China, Malaysia kicks off in Malaysia".  
  11. ^ "Indonesia-Malaysia military exercises must continue – defence minister". ANTARA News. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  12. ^ "Malaysia, US armed forces in joint exercise". The Star. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Malaysia, Philippines committed to enhancing border security". My Sinchew. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Piracy in Southeast Asia: Organised Criminal Syndicates or Small Scale Opportunists?" (PDF). Gray Page. April 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Carvalho, Martin (15 May 2012). "Malaysia, Thailand military exercise to include other agencies, Asean members". The Star. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  16. ^ Pike, John. "Malaysia Intensifies Border Security Following US Warnings". Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Kent, Jonathan (28 April 2004). "Malaysia ups Thai border security". BBC News. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 

Further reading

External links

  • Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters Website
  • Perspective from a military personnel in The Liaison
  • (
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