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Malaysian Armed Forces
Malaysian Army Malaysian Army Flag.png
Royal Malaysian Navy Naval Ensign of Malaysia.svg
Royal Malaysian Air Force Royal Malaysian Air Force Flag.svg
Military history of Malaysia
Related information
Awards & decorations
Special Operations Force
National service
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15-49: 5,584,231
(2005 est.)
Fit For service males age 15-49: 4,574,854
(2005 est.)
Of age / year males: 244,418
(2005 est.)
Military expenditure
Dollar figure $1.69 billion
(2000 est.)
% of GDP 2.03%
Military foreign suppliers
Suppliers  United States
 United Kingdom
 South Africa

Source :
CIA World Factbook 2006

The military of Malaysia is known officially as the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF, Malay: Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM). It 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 (Jen) Tan Sri Dato' Sri Azizan bin Ariffin, is the Chief of Defence Forces, Malaysia.


Role of the MAF

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

The role of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is to defend the sovereignty and strategic interests of Malaysia from all forms of threat.

It is responsible to assist the 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 in order to uphold the national foreign policy of being involved under the guidance of the United Nations (UN).


Theater of operations

The main theaters 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 cleanup)

*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



In the early 1990s, Malaysia undertook a major program to expand and modernize 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 defense 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.

Malaysian Army

Since the recovery from the 1997 economic crisis, MA along with other branches of the MAF regains momentum in its modernizing programs.

Royal Malaysian Air Force

The Russian-made state-of-art Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers serial number M52 and British-made BAE Hawk Mk.108 serial number M40 of the Royal Malaysian Air Force at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2009

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.

Royal Malaysian Navy

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

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 ultimate goal is to build a six vessels squadron of each class by year 2020.

National Service

In early 2004, the Ministry of Defense also initiated a compulsory National Service program for 17 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 17 year olds.

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 U.S. 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 finalized. Malaysia had also obtained a licensed product line of the rifle. The first batch of the weapon is expected to be delivered by year 2008.


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

On July 18, 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 aging fleet. The aging Nuri will be retired by year 2010. The requirement for the new procurement includes capacity of 25 passengers as well as limited combat, search and rescue capability.[2] Four contender were shortlisted for the final evaluation, they were the Eurocopter EC 725, AgustaWestland EH101, Sikorsky S-92 and Mil MI-171. On September 26, 2008, Malaysian Government announced that the tender is being awarded to Eurocopter.[3]

DSA 2008

On April 21, 2008, first days of DSA 2008 Ministry Of Defence Malaysia has make 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 Techologies 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.

Additional Information and Links

External links



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