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Last Updated: 22 October 2010

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


Malaysia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In March 2010, a Ministry of Defense spokesperson told Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor that Malaysia was in the process of formulating its policy toward the convention.[1]

Malaysia did not attend the first two diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process in the first half of 2007, but participated in the international treaty preparatory conferences in Vienna in December 2007 and Wellington in February 2008. At the Wellington conference, it expressed support for a complete prohibition on cluster munitions without exceptions. It endorsed the Wellington Declaration, which committed states to negotiate a convention banning cluster munitions on the basis of the existing text. Malaysia participated in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. It was one of 107 states that adopted the convention text at the end of the negotiations, but was absent from the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008.  

Malaysia subsequently attended the Special Event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the UN in New York in March 2009 to promote the convention. It also participated in the Regional Conference on the Promotion and Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Bali, Indonesia in November 2009.

Malaysia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Malaysia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). It has occasionally attended as an observer the CCW deliberations on cluster munitions in recent years.

Malaysia is not believed to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions. It is uncertain if Malaysia has a stockpile.[2] During a March 2010 mission to Malaysia by Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, officials would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a stockpile of cluster munitions.[3]

Malaysia possesses Brazilian-made Astros rocket launchers, but it is not known if this includes variants that contain submunition payloads.[4] It is also reported to possess the Hydra-70 air-to-surface unguided rocket system, but it is not known if the ammunition types available to it include the M261 Multi-Purpose Submunition Rocket.[5]

[1] Interview with Col. Abdul Rahim Sebeli, Principal Assistant Secretary, Policy Division, Ministry of Defense, Kuala Lumpur, 12 March 2010.

[2] On 18 March 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote to the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs asking for clarification on whether or not Malaysia possessed a stockpile of cluster munitions. The letter noted that a news article in Berita Harian Online included an undated photo of a member of the Royal Malaysian Air Force with a CB-250K cluster bomb produced by Chile. The accompanying caption indicated that the soldier was offering an explanation of the weapon’s function and suggests the weapon is part of the air force’s arsenal. HRW did not receive a response. However, Malaysian officials told Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor in March 2010 that a reply had been sent to HRW, stating that the cluster bomb in the photo was only a mock version. The news article is available at www.bharian.com.my.

[3] Interview with Ministry of Defense officials, Kuala Lumpur, 12 March 2010. One official did note that he had previously asked a CMC campaigner why Malaysia was not on the CMC list of countries which stockpile cluster munitions.

[4] Submission of Brazil, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar year 2002, 28 April 2004. It reported the transfer of 12 launch units. The Arms Transfers Database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute notes that the US$300 million deal was signed in 2007, and deliveries began in 2009.

[5] Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).