Malaysia Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, TUDM); Ministry of Home Affairs: the Royal Malaysian Police (PRMD, includes the General Operations Force, a paramilitary force with a variety of roles, including patrolling borders, counter-terrorism, maritime security, and counterinsurgency) (2021)

note: Malaysia created a National Special Operations Force in 2016 for combating terrorism threats; the force is comprised of personnel from the Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysian Police, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Malaysian Coast Guard, MMEA)

Military expenditures

0.9% of GDP (2020 est.)

1% of GDP (2019)

1% of GDP (2018)

1.1% of GDP (2017)

1.4% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 132

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Malaysian Armed Forces have approximately 115,000 active duty troops (80,000 Army; 18,000 Navy; 17,000 Air Force) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Malaysian Armed Forces field a diverse mix of imported weapons systems; the top  suppliers of military hardware since 2010 are France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey (2020)

Military deployments

825 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (March 2021)

Military service age and obligation

17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; women serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces; no conscription (2019)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the South China Sea as high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift; the Singapore Straits saw 23 attacks against commercial vessels in 2020, vessels were boarded in 22 of the 23 incidents, one crew was injured, another taken hostage and two threatened during these incidents

NOTE: The information regarding Malaysia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Malaysia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Malaysia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.