Malaysia has contributed troops and police to support United Nations peacekeeping operations in Timor-Leste (East Timor).

Malaysia originally sent a unit of 125 police to Timor in 2003 under UNMISET. After the crisis in April 2006, with widespread destruction in Dili, Malaysia sent over 200 soldiers to Timor to support the Joint Task Force. Since the establishment of UN Police (UNPOL) in 2006, Malaysia operates a paramilitary Force Protection Unit (FPU) in Timor.

Royal Malaysian Army & AFP Joint Patrol

Sergeant Rahmat Shabadan (Royal Malaysian Army) watches as a joint patrol from the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Malaysian Army depart the Police Barracks for a patrol through the streets of Dili. (19 June 2006) 

Government sources


Statement on the Situation in Timor-Leste, Ambassador Hamidon Ali, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, United Nations Security Council, New York, 15 August 2006

“In August 2003, the Royal Malaysian Police deployed a self-sustained unit consisting of 125 personnel to service in UNMISET to form the International Police Unit in support of the Timor-Leste National Police. Currently the Royal Malaysian Police continues to deploy a Formed Police Unit of up to 250 police personnel under a bilateral agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Timor-Leste.

“Timor-Leste is an independent, sovereign member of the community of nations. In exercising its rights, the request contained in the letter dated 4 August 2006 addressed to the Secretary-General from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Timor-Leste (S/2006/620). should be the basis for serious consideration by the Security Council and the international community. The request for a strong civilian component with a police force of considerable strength, backed by a small military force, under the command and control of the United Nations is a matter of vital urgency for the mandate of the new mission in conformity with the Timorese people.”

New Zealand

Timor Leste, NZ Army

“04 July 2006 – 150 Malaysian Police arrived in Dili as further contribution to the Coalition Task Force.  One month on from the initial riots and civil disorder the scene is now set by the Coalition Task Force to carry out community policing.”

Malaysian police and military training

Soldiers train with Malaysian riot control unit in Timor, Operation Astute images, Australian Defence Force website, 21 October 2007

Malaysian peacekeeping troops and police to Timor-Leste, photogallery of Malaysian operations, 2006

Commentary and analysis

Malaysia Sends 209 Soldiers To Help Quell Unrest In Timor Leste, Bernama News service, 26 May 2006

“Malaysia is sending 209 soldiers to Dili to help quell escalating violence between rival factions in Timor Leste, the world’s youngest nation, following a request from that government. The soldiers are drawn from the 10th Brigade Paratroopers based in Terendak Camp, Melaka, and a unit of the army special force from Mersing Camp, Johor, and will be headed by Col Ismeth Nayan Ismail…

“The team is expected to join the advance party of 25 Malaysian military officers who left for Dili earlier, and would remain in that country for two weeks….Two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) vessels, KD Merong Mahawangsa and KD Inderasakti, are ferrying the equipment of the Malaysian troops, including armoured carriers.”

Interview with Brigadier Mick Slater, Commander JTF 631, Australian Army Journal, Volume 3 Number 2 2006, pp9-14.

“We have been very fortunate to have our Kiwi and Malaysian friends alongside us in Timor Leste. I would like to pay tribute to their national component commanders, .colonel Ishmet and Lieutenant Colonel Harker. They have been very collegial and our forces have become comfortable with one another through our exchange programs and joint exercises. We have differences in style and mind-set, but at the operational level we have developed excellent relationships. I immediately deployed liaison officers to each of these contingents and they have ensured that we are all on the same page at all times. This coalition has been very harmonious.”

Operation Astute, Wikipedia

“Malaysian Army

    • 209 parachute special force soldiers from the 10th Paratrooper Brigade
    • Transport aircraft
    • Elements, 19th Batallion, Royal Malay regiment (Mechanised)
    • Elements from Grup Gerak Khas (Army Special Forces)

Royal Malaysian Navy

    • Elements from PASKAL (Navy Special Force)
    • Two warships – KD Mahawangsa and KD Inderasakti”

Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform, Asia Report No. 143, International Crisis Group, 17 January 2008, p.12

“Malaysia, at one point the second largest contributor to the ISF, has 140 police specialists in crowd control in an FPU in Dili. Its police and army training, which consisted of a wide range of courses, plus financial and technical aid, has been suspended since the 2006 crisis. Generally it has sought to ensure its help for Timor does not undercut its relations with Indonesia by quietly fitting in behind the Australians and the UN.”

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