The Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM), the military of Malaysia, consists of three branches, namely the Malaysian Army, the Royal Malaysian Navy, and the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Since 19 December 2016, General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor is the Chief of Malaysian Armed Forces.
Malaysia’s armed forces were created from the unification of military forces which arose during the first half of the 20th century when Malaya and Singapore were the subjects of British colonial rule before Malaya achieved independence in 1957. The primary objective of the armed forces in Malaysia is to defend the country’s sovereignty and protect it from any and all types of threats.
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).
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.
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. Dr Kogila Balakrishnan is the head of the Defence Industry.