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Country Reports
MALAYSIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: Malaysia ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 22 April 1999 and it took effect 1 October 1999. Implementation legislation is being considered by the Parliament. Malaysia has served as the co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee of Experts on Stockpile Destruction. Malaysia has developed plans for, but has not yet begun, destruction of its antipersonnel mine stockpile.

Mine Ban Treaty

Malaysia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997. On 13 April 1999 the Foreign Minister signed the ratification instrument, and it was officially deposited with the UN Secretary-General on 22 April 1999. The Mine Ban Treaty thus entered into force for Malaysia on 1 October 1999.[1]

Malaysia participated in the First Meeting of State Parties (FMSP) to the ban treaty in Mozambique in May 1999. Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad called for sustaining the “political will and momentum” generated by the treaty, including through “close collaboration” with NGOs and “consideration of all aspects of the anti-personnel mine problem.”[2]

At the FMSP, Malaysia assumed the duties of co-rapporteur for the new Intersessional Standing Committee of Experts (ISCE) on Stockpile Destruction.[3] It performed this role at the committee’s meetings in December 1999 and May 2000 in Geneva.[4] Malaysia has also participated in the meetings of the ISCEs on Victim Assistance and on the General Status of the Convention.

Malaysia voted affirmatively on the UN General Assembly’s 1999 resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty.

Malaysia submitted its first transparency report required by the treaty’s Article 7 on 1 March 2000,[5] one month ahead of schedule.

Implementing legislation is in draft form and still needs to be presented for final reading and approval by the new parliament.[6] Earlier parliamentary debate showed bipartisan support, with both administration and opposition members speaking against landmines.[7] The bill was drafted by the Ministry of Defense, and is said to be patterned after the treaty and other national legislation such as Canada’s, with some variation as to penalties, domestic obligations and inter-agency responsibilities. The implementing legislation is expected to result in some budgetary outlay for treaty compliance measures.[8]

The implementing legislation will also result in a new set of directives, including new military doctrine.[9] These new directives, especially for the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), will be shaped not only by the legislation but also by a study with recommendations on treaty compliance. This study will be made by a board of officers already formed with the Army as “process owner.” The study is to be kept within MAF in the meantime.[10]

As of January 2000, coordination on Mine Ban Treaty compliance is being done by an ad hoc inter-agency committee with the Ministry of Defense, particularly its Defense Policy Division, as the focal point. Other agencies involved are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly its Multilateral Political Affairs Division; the MAF Headquarters and especially the Army; the Ministry of Home Affairs and, under it, the Police; and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, only for legal and legislative aspects.[11]

This ad hoc arrangement will most likely be regularized after the passage of implementing legislation. The shape of any new arrangement would depend on the study and recommendations of the board of officers. The defense establishment is conscious of possible NGO participation in an appropriate way, but there are also reservations about this due to the military sensitivity of some matters.[12]

Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Protocol II on mines. Malaysia did not attend the First Annual Conference of States Parties of Amended Protocol II in December 1999. With regard to negotiations on a ban on mine transfers in the Conference on Disarmament, an official has said Malaysia “would like this to be taken up.”[13] Malaysia became a member of the CD in 1999.

Malaysian officials have underscored the importance of acting regionally, particularly in Southeast Asia, noting that in the “integration-sensitive” Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the landmines issue can be a gauge for trust-building, which is a level higher than confidence-building.[14] Malaysia can be said to be taking the lead within ASEAN in addressing the landmine agenda.

Use, Production, and Transfer

Government officials state that there has been no use of antipersonnel mines since the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the government concluded negotiations in December 1989. They also state that Malaysia has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines.[15] It imported four types of AP mines from Yugoslavia, as well as Claymore mines from the UK and US.[16]

Some in the Malaysian defense establishment advocate seeking “high-tech” mines or alternatives that are “better and humane.”[17]

When asked by Landmine Monitor about the issue of another country transiting mines across Malaysian territory, an official responded that a general policy and practice has been to require foreign vessels to declare what they are bringing in – “no declaration, no visit.”[18] But this can also be “quite catchy,” dealing with the rights of one party and the freedom of the other party, especially in passage through international sea lanes like the Straits of Malacca. This has to be tackled on a case-to-case basis, sometimes involving accommodations like a “partial declaration.”[19]

Stockpiling and Destruction

According to its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Malaysia has 94,263 antipersonnel mines in stockpile, with 82,252 ground-blast type and 12,011 “airburst” (bounding) type. The bounding mines are Yugoslav-made PROM-1. The ground-blast are Yugoslav-made PAM-2, PAM-3 and PAM-3 without UPMAH fuzes.[20]

The foregoing figures do not include Claymore mines, which are not prohibited by the treaty when used in command-detonated mode. Malaysian officials have indicated that all Claymores that are retained will be command-detonated and that steps, including modifications, will be made to ensure that is so.[21]

There has been planning for, but as yet no actual destruction of antipersonnel mines. Malaysia is awaiting the implementing legislation and the recommendations of the board of officers before beginning destruction. The locations of destruction sites have been decided: Asahan Range, Malacca; Kota Belud Range, Sabah; and Sempadi Range, Sarawak. The method of destruction would be demolition using electrical method, and to be done by the Army and the Police.[22]

Malaysia has announced that it will not keep any live antipersonnel mines for training purposes.[.23] It will use only non-explosive practice mines (smoke mines) for training. Malaysia’s non-explosive training mines number 46,008.[24] The destruction of AP mines in its stockpile may also be used for training purposes.[25]

Non-State Actors

Malaysia no longer has a non-state actor (NSA) problem, especially after its agreement with the CPM and its Malayan People’s Army to terminate hostilities on 2 December 1989.[26] This and other related agreements contained provisions on destruction of firearms, ammunition and explosives and on location and destruction of booby-traps to be done by the CPM.[27] These agreements as well as the experience of their implementation could be studied further as a possible model for post-conflict mine clearance by NSAs. As Hussein Haniff put it, “without their cooperation, there is no way (for their mines to be cleared).”[28]

Most of the so-called booby-traps were actually AP mines albeit of the crude, improvised type that would expire after some exposure to the jungle elements. After 1991, with the mines expiring, it was deemed no longer cost-effective to conduct the joint mine clearing special operation (“Operasi Bersih”).[29]

Landmine Problem

It is believed that virtually all of the landmines laid in the vicinity of the Malaysian-Thai border from the 1950s to 1980s have been cleared or rendered ineffectual by the elements.[30] In its Article 7 report, Malaysia declared itself mine free.

Mine Action

Malaysia has not received any funding or in-kind contributions for mine action. It has made no financial contributions, but has sent peacekeeping forces that undertook mine clearing operations in countries like Cambodia and Bosnia.

Malaysia has pointed to the need for greater international and technical support for research in mine detection and clearance.

At the First Meeting of States Parties, Deputy Minister Toyad cited the need for “greater efforts to enhance research” and for “more active cooperation among states” in mine detection and clearance. He called on “countries with financial capability, technology and equipment, to come forward in providing financial, technical and humanitarian assistance to mine-affected countries as well as to landmine victims.” He also underscored the importance of “effective and comprehensive public education on mine awareness” to significantly reduce casualties.[31]

Landmine Casualties

There have been no reports of civilian victims of landmines. In the last known incident, an army major was killed by a bounding mine in Bosnia in 1994 as part of the peacekeeping force.[32]


[1] Interview with Hussein Haniff, Under Secretary (Multilateral Political Affairs), in the presence of Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Assistant Secretary, Policy Planning Division, and Ho May Yong, Principal Assistant Secretary (Commonwealth & Disarmament), all of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Wisma Putra, Kuala Lumpur, 2 December 1999
[2] Statement by the Honourable Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia to the First Meeting of the State Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Maputo, Mozambique, 4 May 1999.
[3] Interview with Hussein Haniff, 2 December 1999.
[4] Interview with Cdr. Razali Bin Md. Ali, RMN, Principal Assistant Secretary (Policy) 4, Defence Policy Division, Ministry of Defence, at Wisma Pertahanan, Kuala Lumpur, 19 January 2000.
[5] Malaysia Report under the Mine Ban Treaty Article 7, 1 March 2000.
[6] Cdr. Razali Bin Md. Ali, email, 15 May 2000.
[7] “Both sides speak against landmines,” The Star (Kuala Lumpur), 21 April 2000.
[8] Interview with Hussein Haniff, 2 December 1999.
[9] Interviews with Cdr. Razali, 19 January 2000, and Hussein Haniff, 2 December 1999. The draft bill is still a classified document.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Interviews with Hussein Haniff and with Crd. Razali.
[12] Interview with Cdr. Razali. At the May 2000 meeting of the SCE on General Status of the Convention, the Malaysian delegation said that a board of officials had been formed to oversee all mine-related issues, headed by a senior military official, which would meet for the first time in June 2000. It is unclear if this is the formalization of the ad hoc committee.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, interview with Cdr. Razali and Major Mustaffa, 8 February 1999, p. 415.
[16] Ibid. Also, Malaysia Article 7 report, 1 March 2000.
[17] Interview with Cdr. Razali, 19 January 2000.
[18] Interviews with Cdr. Razali and Hussein Haniff.
[19] Interview with Cdr. Razali.
[20] Malaysia Article 7 report, 1 March 2000. Though listed in the report as “PAM” mines, these are usually designated “PMA” mines.
[21] Interview with Cdr. Razali.
[22] Malaysia Article 7 report, 1 March 2000, and interview with Cdr. Razali, 19 January 2000.
[.23] Malaysia Article 7 report, 1 March 2000. The Malaysian representative at the ISCE on General Status of the Convention announced this in Geneva, 30 May 2000.
[24] Cdr. Razali Bin Md. Ali, email, 27 April 2000. Also, oral statement to ISCE on General Status, 30 May 2000.
[25] Ibid.; Razali email, 15 May 2000.
[26] Agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya to Terminate Hostilities, signed on 2 December 1989 in Haadyai, Thailand, which is Appendix “D” of General Dato’ Kitti Ratanachaya, The Communist Party of Malaya, Malaysia and Thailand: Truce Talks Ending the Armed Struggle of the Communist Party of Malaya (Bangkok: Duangkaew Publishing House, 1996), p. 292.
[27] See, especially, paragraphs 2.4 and 2.5 of the Administrative Arrangement between the Government of Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya Pursuant to the Agreement to Terminate Hostilities, signed on 2 December 1989 in Haadyai, Thailand, which is Appendix “G” of Kitti, The Communist Party of Malaya, pp. 302-311.
[28] Interview with Hussein Haniff.
[29] Interview with Cdr. Razali. According to him, a final report on the operation may be found in the Army Operations Center at Wisma Pertahanan.
[30] This assessment comes from Malaysian NGO colleagues, particularly Dr. Gopala Gopinath, a retired colonel in the Air Force medical corps, who now also does work with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and the Malaysian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Sanen Marshall, formerly of Just World Trust and now with the British Council, during the Landmine Monitor researcher’s conversations with them on 2-3 December 1999.
[31] Malaysia FMSP Statement.
[32] See Landmine Monitor Report 19 99, p. 417.