The Royal Ranger Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Malaysian Army. Although it is second in seniority to the Royal Malay Regiment, the RRD can trace its origins back to the mid 19th century and the establishment of The Sarawak Rangers, the peacekeeping force in the Sarawak region. This force was absorbed by the Sarawak Constabulary in 1932, but the name was revived in 1941 as a British Colonial unit; this unit commanded by British Lieutenant Colonel C.M. Lane was captured by the Japanese in 1942.
In 1948, at the beginning of the Malayan Emergency, groups of Iban trackers were recruited to help in the defence against the Communist Party of Malaya. These Iban trackers were organized into a regimental formation as the Sarawak Rangers in 1953. Prior to 1963, they were attached as scouts to many British units serving in Malaya. One of the trackers, Awang anak Rawang was awarded the George Cross on 20 November 1951, during his attachment to the Worcestershire Regiment.
In 1963, following the formation of Malaysia on 16 September of that year, the unit was transferred from the British Colonial Forces to the new Malaysian Army and expanded into a multi-battalion, multi-ethnic regiment named Renjer Malaysia. This became the Rejimen Renjer in 1971, before being given the ‘Royal’ prefix and hence known as the Rejimen Renjer DiRaja (Royal Ranger Regiment) in 1992.
The RRD is organized in the same way as the RAMD and currently consists of nine battalions,
The 1st to 6th, and the 9th are light infantry battalions.
The 7th Ranger Battalion is presently configured as a mechanized infantry battalion and is equipped with tracked ACV 300 IFVs, some of which are armed with Bushmaster 25 mm guns.
The 8th Ranger Battalion is one of the three airborne infantry battalions that form the 10 Para Brigade, the element of the Army’s Pasukan Atur Cepat.
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Battalions of The Royal Malaysian Rangers
Following the terms of the Defence Agreement, Britain had agreed to raise, train and maintain one infantry Battalion, each from Sabah and Sarawak. HQ Malaya Command Ranger Group was formed and headed by Colonel I.G. Wellstead to coordinate and implement this clause of the agreement.
The First Battalion Malaysian Rangers, was formed on 16 September 1963 at Baird Camp, Ulu Tiram, Johore – the same camp occupied by the Sarawak Rangers. Lt. Col E. Gopsill OBE, DSO, MC of the 7th Gurkha Rifles was appointed the Commanding Officer.
The Sarawak Rangers disbanded on 15 September 1963 and was absorbed – approximately 100 strong – into the new battalion. Amongst them was Lt. James Tomlow ak Isa who was originally granted a Governor’s Commission in the Sarawak Rangers was subsequently granted the Regular Commission by the Agong.
In October 1963, the nucleus of the Battalion moved out of Baird Camp to Kandy Lines, Trg Depot BDE of Gurkhas at Sungai Petani to prepare and conduct recruit training and continuity training for the new intakes. The recruits went through about four months of basic individual training followed by another two months continuity training.
Initially, this British Colonial battalion was almost exclusively composed of Sea Dayak (Iban) soldiers Sarawak Rangers]and a small number of Malay and Indian officers. On the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, the Sarawak Rangers was disbanded and absorbed into the Malaysian Armed Forces. The 1st Battalion is the premier battalion and remains the icon of the Ranger Corps. Prior to the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the Sarawak Rangers gained their fearsome reputation during the Malayan Emergency. Concurrently, during the post-colonial reconstruction era, the 1st Battalion fought on extensively against the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Clandestine Communist Organization (CCO) the military arm of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP ) and its affiliate the Pasukan Rakyat Kalimantan Utara (PARAKU, the armed wing of the North Kalimantan People’s Army) and the Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI). Accounts from captured Communist Terrorists (CTs) in the ’60s and ’70s suggest that other than the (British Royal Marines) commandos, the CPM feared the deployment of the 1st Battalion in the immediate vicinity. The Rangers also saw action at the Malaysian-Thai border
The 1st Battalion remains an active unit of the Malaysian armed forces, although rather inexplicably, the recruitment of Iban stock has been gradually declined significantly over the last 20 years. Consequently, it’s racial composition is about the same as other Malaysian infantry battalions.
It is worth noting that in the 1950s and 1960s, the British SAS were taught jungle tracking by Iban soldiers. The Ibans from the jungles of Borneo are particularly suited to jungle warfare, serving as jungle trackers for many Commonwealth battalions. Surviving and living off the land are just daily routines to these jungle soldiers. During the Malayan Emergency, Iban trackers from the previous Malayan Scouts were attached to and served in several SAS units.
This battalion is currently based in Majidee Camp, Johor Bahru, Johor.
The motto of this battalion is in Kadazan language: ‘Osiou Oh Kamanang.’, which means ‘Who dares, Wins’. This battalion is currently based in Syed Putra Camp, Ipoh, Perak. Syed Putra Camp was previously known as Sulva Lines Camp, and has been always regarded as ‘Home of the Rangers’.
The motto of this Battalion is ‘Biar Putih Tulang’. This Battalion also known as ‘The Red Hackles Warrior’. The 3rd Rangers was raised at the Suvla Line Camp, Ipoh, Perak on 1st Jul 1965 with the combination of the personnel from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak (3 different area/region). This battalion is currently stationed at the Oya Camp, Sibu, Sarawak. 928133 Staff Sergeant Muit bin Ahmad, once a member of this battalion, was awarded the ‘Pingat Gagah Berani” for successful actions against communist guerrillas. Lt. Col.(Rtd) Robert Rizal Abdullah won his PGB when he served in this battalion. Currently this battalion is commanded by 19th Bn Commander, Lt Col Wan Azni bin Hj Wan Muhammad (3003935). 1080354 PW 1 Rashid bin Mat is currently the Regimental Sergeant Major . The special event of the battalion is war dance, which is visualize the spirit of Ranger Corps in the unique way.
This battalion is currently based in Oran Camp, Kangar, Perlis. This battalion received its Regimental Colours on the 25th October 1980. Captain Mohana Chandran a/l Velayuthan (200402), an officer of this Regiment was KIA during search-and-destroy operation in the Kinta Forest Reserve in Perak, Malaysia. He was posthumously awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP).
This battalion is currently based at Camp Desa Pahlawan, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
This battalion is currently based at Wardieburn Camp, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. 4 division.
7th Rangers ( Mechanized)
7th Renjer was formed on 10 May 1970, at Quetta Camp in Kluang, Johor with an initial batch of 202 recruits formed into 2 rifle companies. The compilement was completed with the transfer of rifle companies from each of 8th Malay, 2nd Renjer, 3rd Renjer and 4th Renjer regiments. With the transfer of these companies, 7th Renjer achieved the full regimental strength. It is the only regiment converted into ‘Mechanised Battalion’. This Regiment was badly bloodied in a communist guerrilla ambush on 26 March 1972 along the Biawak / Lundu road, Sarawak. In a follow-up operation they avenged their fallen comrades and extracted heavy retributions from the communist guerrillas responsible for the ambush. This battalion is currently based at Batu Lima Camp, Mentakab, Pahang. This battalion has successfully engaged the communist guerillas in several search and operations.
8th Rangers (Para)
8th Rangers was formed on 1 March 1973, 3 years after the formation of 7th Rangers. 8th Rangers was raised as the first parachute infantry battalion in the Malaysian Army, and achieved operational status on 1 July 1990 as a component of the elite 10 Paratroop Brigade (Malaysia).
8th Rangers gained fame during the communist Insurgency in the 1970s and 1980s. 8th Rangers engaged in several search and destroy missions against Communist Terrorists in Sarawak. From 1977, the battalion was particularly successful against Communist Terrorists in search and destroy missions in the Hulu Perak, Kinta and Kuala Kangsar regions in Perak.
Several members of the battalion were awarded the nation’s highest gallantry award, the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) and the Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) medals. Pegawai Waran II Kanang anak Langkau remains to this day the only recipient of both the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa and the Panglima Gagah Berani medals. Sarjan Michael Riman anak Bugat and Sarjan Beliang anak Bali were both awarded the Panglima Gagah Berani medal.
This battalion is currently based at Camp Terendak, Melaka, also known as ‘Home of the Paras’ equivalent to US Fort Bragg’s, the home of 82nd Airborne Div, Fort Bragg,North Carolina.
The 9th Battalion of the Ranger Regiment, originated from the 14th Malaysian Territorial Army Battalion, which was formed on the 1st April 1971 in Tawau, Sabah. The members of this battalion were locals who were members of the Local Defence Force. The unit was raised at the request of the Sabah State Government who insisted that the unit must be exclusively Sabahans. The Malaysian Army gladly complied with this opportunity by converting the 14thTerritorial Battalion into a regular unit in the form of 9th Rangers on the 1st of March 1979, at the Batu Uban Camp in Penang. The motto of this new Ranger battalion is “Sian Bani Manang”, which in the Bajau language, meant “Who Dares Wins”.
This battalion is currently based in Taiping, Perak.