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Country Reports
Malaysia, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Mine Ban Policy

Malaysia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 22 April 1999, and the treaty entered into force on 1 October 1999. The Anti-Personnel Mines Convention Implementation Act 2000, Act 603, was enacted on 15 June 2000.[1]

Malaysia has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines, and has not used mines since the peace accord with the Communist Party of Malaysia in 1989. Malaysia destroyed its entire stockpile of 94,721 antipersonnel mines in January 2001. The entire stockpile was imported from the former Yugoslavia. Malaysia has chosen not to retain any antipersonnel mines for training or development purposes. The Defense Ministry and Armed Forces state that the Claymore mines currently in their inventory were acquired from a South Korean manufacturer in command-detonated mode and need no further modification.[2] Malaysia does not report voluntarily under Article 7 on the Claymores because it does not consider them antipersonnel mines.[3]

Malaysia attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and the February and May 2003 intersessional Standing Committee meetings. A government representative told Landmine Monitor that Malaysia considers the meetings important for maintaining momentum and commitments for the goals of the Mine Ban Treaty.[4] On 22 November 2002, Malaysia voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, promoting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Malaysia submitted its annual updated Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report on 28 May 2003. There was no new information reported. Malaysia has submitted four Article 7 reports since March 2000.[5]

Malaysia has expressed its commitment to universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty in various fora in 2002 and early 2003.[6] It is part of the Bangkok Regional Action Group (BRAG), formed in September 2002 by States Parties from the region, aimed at promoting the Mine Ban Treaty in the lead up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok in September 2003. In 2002, Malaysia undertook a number of bilateral and joint contacts urging non-States Parties to join the treaty.[7] At the XIII Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting, held on 25-27 February 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia successfully led an effort to include language “deploring” antipersonnel mine use in the final declaration, and, for the first time, NAM States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty invited those states that have not yet done so to join the treaty.[8] Malaysia also extended an invitation to the ICBL to attend the Summit, one of very few NGOs invited to participate.

Malaysia is a member of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and on 27 February 2003, Malaysia’s CD representative made a statement welcoming the fourth anniversary of the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty and “encouraging countries not yet members to become Parties to the treaty.”[9] Malaysia is not a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but it is studying the possibility of joining.[10]

Joint Military Operations and Transit

The Anti-Personnel Mines Convention Implementation Act 2000, in its provision on exceptions, permits Malaysian Armed Forces to participate “in operations, exercises or other military activities with the armed forces of a country that is not a party to the Convention that engage in an activity prohibited under section 3, if that participation does not amount to active assistance or involvement in that prohibited activity.”[11]

Malaysia maintains a firm stand on the prohibition of transit of antipersonnel mines through Malaysian territory.[12]

Mine Action

Malaysia has not been a mine-affected country since the early 1990s following the political settlement with the communist insurgency in the northern border area with Thailand. As part of a special operations program “Operasi Bersih,” mine clearance operations along the border with Thailand were conducted from 1990 to 1991 and involved the Malaysian and Thai governments as well as the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). Approximately 15,000 antipersonnel mines were destroyed in the border states of Kedah, Perak and Kelantan.[13] Lt. Col. Basri reported that the role of the CPM soldiers was to locate mines that they had laid and the role of the Thai soldiers was to destroy them. He also said the CPM used cows to demine and clear paths through government-mined area.[14]

In March 2001, the Malaysian Army Field Engineering Institute established a Mines Awareness Center to teach Malaysian soldiers and peacekeepers of other nationalities about the Mine Ban Treaty and Malaysia’s implementation legislation.[15]

Malaysian citizens and peacekeepers suffered no landmine casualties in 2002.

[1] Under section 20 of the legislation, where no penalty is expressly provided, the penalty shall be a fine not exceeding 20,000 ringgit (approximately $5,260, as of June 2003), or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both. The Minister of Defense is the focal point for implementation of the legislation and it is authorized to make regulations. Before royal assent was given to Act 603, the Malaysian Armed Forces headquarters issued instructions on implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty to all services under its supervision.
[2] Hanwha Corporation of South Korea did not provide tripwires. Letter from Col. Razali bin Hj Ahmad, Principal Assistant Secretary, Policy Division, Ministry of Defense, 24 March 2003.
[3] Meeting with Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2003.
[4] Meeting with Col. Razali bin Hj Ahmad, Ministry of Defense, and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2003.
[5] Article 7 Report, 28 May 2003 (for calendar year 2002); Article 7 Report, 9 May 2002 (for calendar year 2001); Article 7 Report, 27 February 2002 (for calendar year 2001); and Article 7 Report, 1 March 2000 (for the period from 1 October 1999 to 1 March 2000). The difference between the 27 February and 9 May 2002 reports is that the May report contains more information, including under Form A (it names the domestic legislation), Form D (“nil APMs retained”), Form E (which states “nil production facilities”), Form F (which provides the names of stockpile destruction sites), and Form G (which states “not applicable” under destruction of antipersonnel mines in mined areas).
[6] Meeting with Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2003.
[7] This includes Bhutan, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Email from Riedzal Abdul Malek, Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Political Division, Ministry of Defense, 12 February 2003.
[8] See paragraph 93 (deploring use) and paragraph 94 (Mine Ban Treaty) of the Final Document of the XIII Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Kuala Lumpur, 25-27 February 2003.
[9] Statement by Dr. Rajmah Hussain, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malaysia, at the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 27 February 2003.
[10] Interview with Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the UN, Geneva, 12 March 2003.
[11] Act 603, Article 4 (d).
[12] Meeting with Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2003.
[13] Letter from Col. Razali bin Hj Ahmad, Ministry of Defense, 24 March 2003.
[14] Meeting with Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Kuala Lumpur, 10 February 2003.
[15] Ibid.