Today, 1 March 2013, the Malaysian Army celebrates its 80th Anniversary of its formation. It was 80 years ago on 1 March 1933 that the first squad of the "Experimental Company" of the Malay Regiment, consisting of 25 selected young Malay recruits, started their military training in Port Dickson under British Army instructors.

The idea to form an indigenous Malay army started well before the break of World War I. It took the Malay Rulers and other prominent Malay leaders more than 20 years to convince the British Government to raise a local army. There have been fears by the British "that the Malays, with their leisurely temperament and lack of military traditions other than those of guerilla warfare, would rebel against the discipline of the parade ground and barrack-room". It was not until it became too costly to the British Government to continue having units of the Indian Army in Malaya, that the idea to form a local force came into being. On 23 January 1933, the "Malay Regiment Bill" was tabled and passed by the Federal Council as "Enactment No. 11".

This first squad formed the nucleus of the Royal Malay Regiment and the Malaysian Army today, 80 years later. The Malaysian Army has grown in size and consists of various regiments and corps with the participation of the other races in the multi-racial units in the process. From a counter-insurgency force, it has transformed into a conventional force with modern and updated equipment and vehicles.

Throughout the 80 years of its existence, it has seen through World War II, the Japanese Occupation, the British Administration, the Communist Insurgency, the preparation for Independence, the formation of Malaysia, Konfrontasi, May 13 and the end of the Communist armed threat. The Malaysian Army has participated in UN Peace Keeping Missions in a number of countries overseas as an extension of the foreign policy of the country.

Within Malaysia, the Malaysian Army has continued to assist the local authorities during national disasters and rural development projects and the like and recently in support of the "National Blue Ocean Strategy". Together with the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the Malaysian Army continues to be the deterrent to would be aggressors and trouble makers to the country, thus ensuring peace and stability in order for the economic and social development of the country can continue to be carried out.

For the retired Army officers, we should be proud to be part of the Malaysian Army history and the contributions and sacrifices that we have made to make the nation what it is today. We wish the present Army officers, "HAPPY 80th ARMY DAY" and do take care of the Army that we have left.

Salam "Gagah Setia!"

For details on the 80th Army Day activities, do visit the Malaysian Army Website at: