Malaysia was once part of the British Empire but achieved its independence in August 1957. The Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia - ATM) consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force. In addition the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) protects the coasts and surrounding waters of the nation, while the Royal Malaysian Police (Polis Diraja Malaysia - PDRM) are largely responsible for internal security. Malaysia also has a National Service program sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.
The Malaysian Special Operations Force is a multi service force tasked with a counter-terrorism mission. It consists of the 10 Paratrooper Brigade, Grup Gerak Khas (GGK), Pasukan Khas Laut (PASKAL), Pasukan Khas Udara (PASKAU), Pasukan Gerakan Khas (PGK), Unit Gempur Marin (UNGERIN), Trup Tindakan Cepat (Rapid Actions Troops) and Special Task And Rescue (STAR).
Malaysian Camouflage Patterns
- The oldest camouflage pattern in Malaysian service is the M70 Brushstroke pattern, loosely based on the WW2 and 1950s era British designs. Several minor variations have been produced printed on different types of abrics. The pattern was in use with the Malaysian Armed Forces from the 1970s to approximately 1994.
- A new pattern, named Celoreng Harimau Kumbang (panther camouflage), was tested in the early 1990s, ostensibly to replace the faithful brushstroke M70 design. The design also had a nickname, Loreng Daun Pisang (banana leaf camo). The design was tested by a unit of the Royal Rangers that were stationed in the Cameron Highlands, but primarily saw service with Pertahanan Awam (Civil Defense) personnel and certain government ministries during its short life. Nicknamed "Cameronian," the pattern was only retained in service for approximately two years (1993-94) and was never officially adopted by the armed forces. The Cameronian design seems to have faded with repeated washings and may have been passed over general adoption for this reason.
- A new style camouflage design was introduced to the Malaysian Armed Forces in 1994. Known locally as Harimau Belang (or "tiger stripes"), the M94 "woodland-stripe" pattern (also referred to as zebra-stripe woodland) features horizontal stripes in black, brown and green on a khaki background. This camouflage pattern is now being phased out in favor of a pixelated camouflage design.
- The Navy's special operations unit, Pasukan Khas Laut (PASKAL), began wearing a locally-made copy of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern in 2000.
- This interesting pattern of black & bright red stripes on a tan background is worn by the National Fire & Rescue Service, Bomba dan Penyelamat (BOMBA).
- The Royal Malaysian Police General Operations Forces (Pasukan Gerakan Am) - formerly the Police Field Force (PFF) - have worn a camouflage design featuring diagonal stripes of black & yellow-green on a bright blue background from the 1990. The pattern would be replaced in 2005, but old stock continues to be worn by Border Police units patrolling the borders with Thailand and Indonesia.
- Participants in the Malaysian National Service Program (Khidmat Negara) began wearing a distinctive camouflage-like design in 2003. It is a horizontal pattern of black, dark blue & light blue on a white background.
- Circa 2005, the Pasukan Gerakan Am (PGA) of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) replaced the old bright blue camouflage design with a more subdued pattern, having dark violet, periwinkle blue & dark olive green shapes on a light olive green background. Interestingly, the shapes employed in the design do not seem to be influenced by or copied from any particular design.
- A desert version of the standard Malaysian Armed Forces stripe pattern was introduced in 2006 and has been worn by Malaysian military units deployed abroad in arid or desert regions. The pattern is known in the Malaysian language as Baju Celoreng Harimau Belang Gurun.
- A special anti-smuggling unit (UPP) of the Malaysian Maritime Force wear a unique camouflage pattern having blotches of dark brown, pink, ochre, & maroon on a white background.
- Recently the Navy's special operations unit, Pasukan Khas Laut (PASKAL), have been observed wearing a locally-produced uniform in the US-designed "Universal Camouflage Pattern" (UCP). The pattern is also worn by the Special Tasks and Rescue (STAR) unit of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
- A new, pixelated camouflage design was adopted for some units of the Royal Malaysian Police Force circa 2012. The design maintains a similar colorway to the previous design of the PDRM.
- The Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia (Malaysian Immigration Service) also announced in 2013 they would begin issuing a pixelated camouflage design for some of its personnel. The pattern incorporates a dark grey design on medium grey background.
- The RELA Corps, or Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia (Volunteers of the Malaysian People), is a paramilitary, quasi-law enforcement unit primarily tasked with controlling illegal immigration. In 2013, it was announced that the Corps would begin issuing a pixelated camouflage pattern seen here. Two other color variations have also been observed, but as yet it is uncertain whether they will be in general circulation.
- First revealed to the public during the Malaysian Armed Forces 80th Anniversary Parade in September 2013, a new pixelated camouflage design is now in the process of being integrated into the supply system as the standard combat uniform of the Army. The design incorporates foliage green and medium brown fractal shapes on a light tan or sand-colored background, with a very small smattering of dark blue scattered throughout. Colloquially the pattern is simply termed Fabrik Celoreng Corak Digital Tentera Darat (Army Digital Pattern Camouflage Fabric) or simply Celoreng Digital (digital camouflage), but among the special forces community it has been nicknamed Celoreng Komando. It is suspected the uniform will eventually be distributed to all branches of the armed forces, but thus far only the Army that has been observed wearing it.
- A desert version of the above pattern is also in circulation, worn by Malaysian personnel serving outside of Malaysia in arid regions of the world.
- The Royal Malaysian Air Force, or Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (TUDM), adopted its own pixelated camouflage design in 2016, having a blue colorway. This pattern will replace the previously worn dark blue uniform as well as the combat "stripe" fatigues worn by combat and security personnel.
- The Royal Malaysian Navy, or Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia (TLDM) has also adopted its own pixelated camouflage design, with a mostly grey colorway.
Other Camouflage Patterns worn by Malaysia
- The Malaysian contingent to Bosnia (SFOR) in 1996-98 wore British Army issue DPM windproof camouflage smocks and trousers. DPM was also worn for a time by 69 Commando Battalion.
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Andreas Arphan for his helpful contributions to this page.