The Malaysian Army (Malay: Tentera Darat Malaysia; Jawi: تنترا دارت مليسيا) is the land component of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Steeped in British Army traditions, the Malaysian Army does not carry the title ‘royal’ (diraja) as do the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy. Instead, the title is bestowed on selected army corps and regiments who have been accorded the honour by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who is the Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
- 1 History
- 2 Organisation and structure
- 3 Rank Structure
- 4 Corps and regiments
- 5 Strength
- 6 Equipment
- 7 Army Air Wing
- 8 Present Development
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The first military units in Malaysia can be traced back to the Malay States Volunteer Rifles which existed from 1915 to 1936. The birth of the Malaysian Army came about when the Federal Council of the Federated Malay States passed the Malay Regiment Bill on 23 January 1933. This allowed the initial recruitment of 25 males for the First Experimental Malay Company on 1 March 1933. Major G. McI. S. Bruce of the Lincolnshire Regiment was the first Commanding Officer.
By 1 January 1935, the Experimental Company became The Malay Regiment with a complement of 150 men. A battalion was formed on 1 January 1938 and eventually a second battalion on 1 December 1941.
The 1st Bn Malay Regiment was famous for its defence of Opium Hill or Bukit Chandu in Singapore. The ‘Battle of Opium Hill’ on 14 February 1942 involved 42 soldiers commanded by Lt. Adnan Bin Saidi who defended their position against attack from the 18th Division of the Japanese Imperial Army under Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi. After World War II and during the Malayan Emergency, the number of battalions was increased to 7 in the early 50s.
The Kor Armor DiRaja (Royal Armoured Corps) can trace its roots to the formation on 1 September 1952 of the Federation Reconnaissance Squadron. It was later merged with the Federation Regiment to form the Federation Reconnaissance Corps. The name underwent a few transformations from the Malaysian Reconnaissance Corps (16 September 1967), Royal Malaysian Reconnaissance Corps (May 1979) to Royal Cavalry Corps (December 1979) and finally to Kor Armor DiRaja (Royal Armoured Corps) on 8 December 1986.
Organisation and structure
The Malaysian Army is currently organised into five Divisions and are placed under the Field Army Headquarters. Three of which (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions) are based on the Malaysian Peninsular, while the two (the 1st Division and 5th Divisions) are based on Malaysian Borneo. The Grup Gerak Khas (Special Forces group), 10th Parachute Brigade and the Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (army aviation) are independent formations and directly subordinate to the Chief of the Army.
The Malaysian Army currently has 17 Corps or Regiments. These are grouped into 3 main components: the Combat Element, the Combat Support Element and the Support Elements.
The Malaysian Army uses a rank structure  inherited from the British Army. the Malaysian Army rank structure has 17 levels from Private (Prebet) to General (Jeneral). These ranks are divided into 2 groups - Officer (Pegawai) and Other Ranks (Lain-Lain Pangkat) which includes the Non-Commissioned Officer (Pegawai Tanpa Tauliah) ranks.
Officers are sub-divided into 3 groups:-
Senior Officers This group consists of officers holding the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel (Leftenan Kolonel), Colonel (Kolonel), Brigadier General (Brigedier Jeneral), Major General (Mejar Jeneral), Lieutenant General (Leftenan Jeneral) and General (Jeneral)
Field Officers Field Officers are officers holding the rank of Major (Mejar)
Other Ranks This group begins at Private (Prebet) and works its way up to Warrant Officer I (Pegawai Waran I). This is further subdivided into 3 groups:
Private (Prebet) Private soldiers in the Malaysian Army do not wear any rank devices on their uniform. There are no distinctions made between junior or senior Privates.
Corps and regiments
- Rejimen Askar Melayu DiRaja (Royal Malay Regiment)
- Rejimen Renjer DiRaja (Royal Ranger Regiment)
- Rejimen Sempadan (Border Regiment)
- Kor Armor DiRaja (Royal Armoured Corps)
- Rejimen Artileri DiRaja (Royal Artillery Regiment)
- Rejimen Semboyan DiRaja (Royal Signals Regiment)
- Kor Perkhidmatan Am (General Services Corps)
- Kor Polis Tentera DiRaja (Royal Military Police Corps);
- Kor Kesihatan DiRaja (Royal Medical Corps)
- Kor Risik DiRaja (Royal Intelligence Corps)
- Kor Perkhidmatan DiRaja (Royal Logistics Corps);
- Kor Ordnans DiRaja (Royal Ordnance Corps)
- Rejimen Askar Jurutera DiRaja (Royal Engineer Regiment)
- Kor Jurutera Letrik dan Jentera DiRaja (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps)
- Kor Agama Angkatan Tentera (Religious Corps of the Armed Forces of Malaysia)
- Rejimen Askar Wataniah (Territorial Army Regiment)
- Rejimen Gerak Khas (Special Forces Regiment)
- Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (Army Air Corps)
- Rejimen Askar Melayu DiRaja (Royal Malay Regiment)
This is the most senior regiment of the Malaysian Army. Its ranks are recruited from amongst the Malay population. The Regiment has 25 battalions. The 1st Battalion, the most senior in the Regiment, currently undertakes ceremonial and Royal Guard duties. The remainder are configured as 20 Standard Infantry Battalions, two Mechanised Infantry Battalions and two Parachute Infantry Battalions. The regiment uses rifle green berets except two battalions that wear maroon berets. See 17 RAMD Para Weblog The 19th Bn Royal Malay Regiment (Mech) was involved in the rescue of US Rangers and Delta Force operatives in Somalia during the Battle of Mogadishu. The unit of 32 Radpanzer Condor APCs and 113 men from MALBATT 1 went in with the United States 10th Mountain Division to rescue the trapped Rangers. Four APCs were immobilised and were destroyed by US helicopter gunships. 19 Royal Malay Regiment suffered 1 soldier killed in action (KIA), PFC Mat Aznan Awang while 8 others were wounded in action (WIA). Pfc Mat Aznan Awang was later promoted posthumously to Corporal and was awarded with Pingat Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa, the nation's highest gallantry award. In total, 7 officers and 26 NCOs were awarded various medals for their valour during the operation, the highest number of men recommended for medals in a single unit in a single operation.
- Rejimen Renjer DiRaja (Royal Ranger Regiment)
This is a multi-racial unit organised along similar lines to the Rejimen Askar Melayu DiRaja. There are currently 10 battalions within this regiment. The Regiment traces its roots to the Sarawak Rangers and the Sarawak Constabulary, famed jungle trackers who had a deadly reputation during the Malayan Emergency and during the Communist Party of Malaya’s insurgency in Malaysia. The 8th Bn Royal Ranger Regiment (8 Renjer) was the first infantry battalion in the Malaysian Army to undergo conversion into an airborne battalion. The unit is currently assigned to the elite 10 Brigade (Para). The Malaysian Army's most decorated soldier, WOI (Rtd) Kanang anak Langkau was a Regimental Sergeant Major of 8 Ranger .
- Rejimen Sempadan (Border Regiment)
This is a newly created regiment from the 300 series Territorial Army units in charge of the border. The Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on 1 July 2006 the formation of a new regiment specifically for border patrol. Members of the regiment will be taken from various regiments and corps, most notably from the Rejimen Askar Wataniah. It is believed that the army will form about 2 to 3 brigades of this new regiment. The new regiment was officially raised on 9 February 2008 by Najib Tun Razak at Tanah Merah, Kelantan.
- Kor Armor DiRaja (Royal Armoured Corps) provides the armour capability for the Malaysian Army. Currently, the Corps consists of 5 battalions (sometimes errantly referred to as Regiments), which are equipped with various armoured personnel carriers (SIBMAS AFSV-90, Rheinmetall Condor, K-200 MIFV) and light combat vehicles. Rejimen ke-11 of the Kor Armor DiRaja is the sole user of 48 PT-91M Main Battle Tanks from Poland.
Combat Support element
- Rejimen Artileri Diraja (Royal Artillery Regiment) is the artillery corps of the Malaysian Army and provides artillery support and local air defense for army units. The regiment is equipped with 36 Brazilian-made Astros II multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and 28 G5 MkIII towed artillery guns from South Africa. Air defense is provided using a mix of Swiss Oerlikon twin 35 mm and Swedish Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft artillery and missile systems such as the Jernas and Starburst from the UK, Anza from Pakistan, FN-6 from China and Igla from Russia.
- Rejimen Semboyan Diraja (Royal Signals Regiment) is in charge of strategic communication, tactical communications, electronic warfare and early warning systems such as radar.
- Kor Polis Tentera DiRaja (Royal Military Police Corps) deploys as part of the field army, in support of army operations, and enforces proper conduct among army personnel. Aside from being responsible for base security, the military police are also tasked with preventing and investigating criminal activities on army property or by military personnel.
- Rejimen Askar Jurutera DiRaja (Royal Engineers Regiment) is tasked with demolitions, bridge-laying and the repair of military infrastructure, such as airbase runways, or clearing obstacles in emergency situations.
- Kor Jurutera Letrik dan Jentera DiRaja (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps) is responsible for the maintenance of all vehicles and machinery of the Malaysian Army.
- Kor Risik DiRaja (Royal Intelligence Corps) specializes in psychological warfare (psyops), surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance and counter-intelligence operations. Aside from handling propaganda and counter-propaganda, the corps is also tasked with conducting background checks on recruits when they first enroll in any training courses.
- Kor Ordnans DiRaja (Royal Ordnance Corps) ensures that all military supplies and ordnance are stored, secured and inventoried properly.
- Kor Agama Angkatan Tentera (Armed Forces Religious Corps) (KAGAT) performs religious (chaplainry) services for Muslim and Christian personnel of the Malaysian Army. It also provides counselling and conducts ritual prayers on the battlefield.
- Kor Perkhidmatan DiRaja (Royal Logistics Corps) is in charge of transporting troops and supplies to the various units of the Malaysian Army.
- Kor Kesihatan DiRaja (Royal Medical Corps) provides training for Army medics and other specialists. It runs the Armed Forces hospitals and provides the battlefield mobile hospitals. The unit has also provided relief MALMEDTIMs (Malaysian Medical Teams) to Pakistan, Afghanistan , West Sahara, Indonesia and Palestine.
- Kor Perkhidmatan Am (General Services Corps) handles administration and financial management for the entire army.
- Rejimen Gerak Khas (Special Forces Regiment) is the Malaysian Army's special forces and commando regiment. 21 Gerup Gerak Khas is the operational home of various specialists and the Commando battalions, which are capable of conducting unconventional warfare or special operations. One of the known foreign operations involving this regiment was in an attack by Somali militia on a convoy transporting UN Intelligence Chief in UNOSOM II on 18 July 1994. In the action, two members of the regiment were killed in action, while another four were wounded. One of the injured men was taken hostage by the militia and was released nine hours later.
- 10 Paratrooper Brigade is an elite airborne unit tasked with being rapidly deployed inside or outside the boundaries of Malaysia. 10th Para is the key element of the Malaysian Rapid Deployment Force (Pasukan Aturgerak Cepat; PAC) and it is Malaysia primary main offensive force in time of war or emergencies.
- Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (Army Air Corps) is the Army Aviation branch formed around a core of Royal Malaysian Air Force officers. This new Army formation is tasked with liaison duties, providing limited transport capabilities, close air support and also air reconnaissance using light observation helicopters. The unit currently has one squadron, No. 881 Squadron, which is equipped with 11 Agusta A109 light helicopters. The main Army Air Corps base is located in Kluang, Johor.
- Rejimen Askar Wataniah (Territorial Army) forms the second line of Malaysia's defence. Formed by college students, professionals and civilians, it provides support for the regular armed forces of Malaysia and is responsible for the security of key installations in times of conflict. Originally tasked with area and local defence, the Rejimen Askar Wataniah units have been reconfigured and will perform front line duties alongside regular units when the need arises. Rejimen Askar Wataniah units, such as armoured squadrons, are integral units of several Kor Armor DiRaja regiments.
The Malaysian Army consists of 4 infantry divisions, 9 infantry brigades, 1 special forces brigade, 1 airborne brigade and 1 mechanised brigade, composed of:
- 36 Light Infantry Battalions
- 3 Airborne Infantry Battalions
- 3 Mechanized Infantry Battalions
- 5 Armoured battalions (1 Tank Regiment)
- 1 light tank squadron
- 13 Artillery Regiments (3 Air Defence)
- 3 Special Forces Regiments
- 3 field engineer regiments
- 1 airborne infantry squadron
- 1 construction regiment
- 4 military police regiments
- 1 signals regiment
- 1 intelligence unit
- 1 helicopter squadron
The territorial army includes:
|Browning Hi-Power||Semi-Automatic Pistol||9x19mm Parabellum||Standard||Belgium||Standard issue sidearms for senior-rank officers and special forces|
|Heckler & Koch P9||Semi-Automatic Pistol||9x19mm Parabellum||Standard||Germany||Issued to specific infantry units|
|Vektor SP1||Semi-Automatic Pistol||9x19mm Parabellum||Standard||South Africa||In service with GGK|
|Heckler & Koch MP5||Submachinegun||9×19mm Parabellum||MP5A3/SD/K||Germany||Standard army submachinegun. Also used by 10 Paratrooper Brigade and GGK|
|Remington Model 870||Shotgun||12 gauge||Various||United States||In service with 10 Paratrooper Brigade and GGK|
|Franchi SPAS-12||Shotgun||12 gauge||Various||Italy||In service with GGK|
|Steyr AUG||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO||AUG A1|| Austria
|Made under license by SME Ordnance Sdn Bhd. Standard issue|
|M4||Assault rifle/Carbine||5.56×45mm NATO||M4A1|| United States
|Made under license by SME Ordnance Sdn Bhd. Used along with Steyr AUG as standard service rifle.|
|M16||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO||M16A1||United States||In service with reserve and Territorial Army Regiment|
|CAR-15||Carbine||5.56×45mm NATO||Model 653||United States||In service with 10 Paratrooper Brigade. Gradually replaced with the improved M4 carbine|
|Heckler & Koch HK33||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO||HK33E|| West Germany
|Former service rifle. Retired from service, in storage.|
|L1A1 SLR||Battle rifle||7.62×51mm NATO||L1A1||Belgium||British Commonwealth variant of the FN FAL. Former service rifle. Retired from service, in storage.|
|Barrett M95||Sniper Rifles||.50 BMG||Standard||United States||In service with GGK|
|Accuracy International Arctic Warfare||Sniper Rifles||.308 Winchester||PM/AW Variant||United Kingdom|
|Harris Gun Works M-96||Sniper Rifles||.50 BMG||United States|
|Denel NTW-20||Anti-materiel rifle||20 × 82mm||South Africa||In service with GGK|
|FN Minimi||Light machine gun||5.56x45mm NATO||Mk2 Para||Belgium||Standard issue SAW|
|M60||General-purpose machine guns||7.62×51mm NATO||M60E3||United States||In service with GGK|
|HK21||General-purpose machine guns||7.62×51mm NATO||HK21E||West Germany||Replaced with Minimi's|
|FN MAG||General-purpose machine guns||7.62×51mm NATO||FN MAG 58||Belgium|
|M2 Browning||Heavy machine guns||12.7×99mm NATO||M2HB||United States|
|Mk 19||Automatic grenade launcher||40mm grenade||Standard||United States|
|Milkor MGL||Grenade launcher||40mm grenade||Mk1||South Africa|
|M203||Grenade launcher||40mm grenade||Standard||United States||Attached to M4 and M16|
|L16 81mm mortar||Mortar||81mm mortar||Standard||United Kingdom|
|ACV 300 Adnan|| Turkey
|Armoured Combat Vehicle||267||Includes ambulance, ARV, command post vehicle and 81mm & 120mm mortar carrier versions. 259 ACV-300 and 8 ACV-S. Produce locally by Deftech Sdn Bhd.|
|K-200 KIFV||Republic of Korea||Infantry fighting vehicle||103||Malaysian Army operate the upgraded variant (K200A1)|
|Alvis Stormer||United Kingdom||Armoured vehicles||25||12 units has a 20mm autocannon while others equipped with the TH-1 turret|
|Bandvagn 206||Sweden||Armoured all-terrain carrier||80||Armoured utility vehicles with various functions|
|Deftech AV8 (8x8)|| Turkey
|Amphibious armored fighting vehicle||257||A prototype has been delivered by 2011 for final approval, and the order is expected to be filled between 2012 and 2015. 257 units will locally produced by the local company DRB-HICOM Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech)|
|SIBMAS (6x6)||Belgium||Armoured fire support vehicles||186||Including 24 as armoured recovery vehicle. Armed with Cockerill 90mm main gun |
|Condor APC (4x4)||Germany||Armored personnel carrier||315||Originally 460 units. Some were lost in the Battle of Mogadishu (1993) and others were used for peacekeeping missions in various countries |
|URO VAMTAC||Spain||Multi-purpose armoured vehicle||85||Multi-purpose armoured vehicle that strongly similar to U.S made Humvee. Mostly equipped with Mk 19 40mm AGL and M2 Browning HMG. 25 units are as Igla anti-air missile launcher platform.|
|WZT-4||Poland||Armored Recorvery Vehicle|
|IVECO M4010||Italy||Field Ambulance|
|Land Rover Defender||United Kingdom||Multi-purpose vehicle|
|Mercedes-Benz G-Class||Germany||Multi-purpose/light assault vehicle||GD290|
|All Terrain Mobility Platform||United Kingdom||Air-mobile vehicle||Used by 10 Paratrooper Brigade|
|PMC Leguan||PMC Leguan||Poland||Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge|
|HICOM Handalan I/II||Malaysia||Troop carrier truck|
|IVECO M4012||Italy||Satellite Communication Vehicle|
MBDA Rapier Jernas
Army Air Wing
|Agusta A109||Multi-purpose helicopter||A109LOH||10||Used for observation. A109LOH version armed with 20mm gun and/or rockets for area suppression missions One lost to crash.|
Since the recovery from the 1997 economic crisis, MA, along with other branches of the MAF, has regained momentum in its modernizing programs. The first major procurement was to set a milestone by building its first ever main battle tank regiment. MA received delivery of 48 PT-91M main battle tanks and other tank-based equipment, like ARV WZT-4 from Poland, fully completed contract of sale in March 2010. Despite adding some 28 units of South African G5 Mk III 155 mm howitzers, another major procurement was 18 units of Astros MRLS from Brazil, which delivery was completed in 2006. A second batch of 18 MRLS was ordered in 2007. MA is also rapidly mechanizing its current inventory - 211 Adnan IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) were acquired by the army in 2004. Following a more recent procurement of the Pakistani Bakhtar-Shikan Anti-armor missile launcher, these were installed on the Adnans.
MA is now shifting its emphasis on enhancing its air wing. In September 2006, MA received its 11th and last Agusta-Westland A109H Light Utility Helicopter. These helicopters are to initially complement, and ultimately replace, the aging SA316B Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters. Six of them were to be installed with light arms and to be tasked to a scout observation unit; a sample was shown in LIMA 07. The configuration of the remainder is unclear. Furthermore, the army will also receive S61A-4 Nuri multipurpose helicopters after they are retired from RMAF; these will form the backbone of the army’s very first air transport units - 881 and 882 squadrons of the army air wing.
In the same year, at the biannual 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. The army will receive the new weapon soon.
There is also a requirement for an upgrade to the current air defence network. However, a dispute between the army and the air force on whether to introduce a mid-range SAM system had led to the procurement being put on hold. According to a recent interview of the army’s chief of staff, Ismail bin Haji Jamaluddin, the army has no intention of taking over the mid range air defence role.
Malaysia’s Soldier Modernisation Programme
As part of the Malaysian Armed Forces 4 Dimension (MAF 4D) strategic plan, a future soldier program known as Soldier Advanced Kombat Technology Integrated (SAKTI) has been established by the Ministry of Defence. Malaysia’s work on its Future Soldier System has several aspects. There are currently no formal schedules for the programme, which is still in its initial phases with no formal issuing by the Army of a final requirement although industry, understood to include Sapura who are teamed with Thales on other projects have made submissions. Some technology development projects have come out, of such as earlier this year with the public display of the Malaysian Army Future Soldier Combat Uniform MK II.
- "Malaysian Armed Forces". GlobalSecurity.org.
- "Tentera Darat pertingkat kesiagaan pertahan dua wilayah secara serentak" (in Malay). New Sabah Times. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Kerajaan Cadang Wujud Rejimen Pengurusan Sempadan
- Broken link as of 16 Nov 2007
- Hamzah h.d (4 August 2008). "PENGISTIHARAN REJIMEN SEMPADAN - KOR BARU TENTERA DARAT YANG KE 16". Majalah Perajurit Edisi Mac 2008 (Kuala Lumpur: J2k,Minda Pertahanan,Min-Def Blogspot). Retrieved 2010-04-08
- IISS (2012), p. 264
- IISS (2012), p. 265
- "Ops Daulat Ground Operation, Lahad Datu Crisis picture gallery".
- AV8 8x8 Wheeled Armoured Vehicle will be Revealed to the Public Soon
- Rapier Ground Based Missile Defence System, United Kingdom, army-technology.com
- "Anza Mk II anti-aircraft missile for elite Rapid Deployment Force". Worldsources Online. 2003-10-15. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "SIPRI arms transfer database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Information generated in 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- Astros II Artillery Saturation Rocket System Army Technology
- Works cited