SHAH ALAM: THE 31st Border Brigade (RS) – the second such unit in the country – has been stood up. The official formation of the five-battalion strong brigade to be headquartered in Bintulu, Sarawak, was announced by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at Lundu, on Friday.
“The setting up of the 31st Border Brigade is another step to tighten Malaysia’s border security by the Defence Ministry,” Hishammuddin said, adding that the brigade would also assist the Royal Malaysian Police, local authorities and other agencies to look after public safety and order during security incidents or disasters.
According to Hishammuddin, the brigade will handle its own staffing needs once it gets the go-ahead from the Public Service Department and that the move would give 1,021 members of the Territorial Army to be absorbed as regulars.
When fully commissioned the brigade will have total number of 5, 626 personnel, with most of them to come from Sarawak for their “local knowledge”.
The 31st Border brigade will come under the purview of the 1st Infantry Division headquartered in Kuching. The division currently has three other brigades, the 3rd, Fifth and Ninth. The 3rd Brigade is based in Kem Penrissen, Kuching and the Ninth at Kem Rascom in Sibu. The Fifth Brigade is located at Kem Lok Kawi, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
The first Border Brigade = the 30th – was stood up in 2008 along the Malaysian-Thai border. The headquarters of the brigade is in Perlis while the five battalions – the 1st to Fifth – are located in Kelantan, Perak and Kedah. The battalions were originally 300-series Territorial Army units which were re-designated as the Border Brigade. This unit comes under the purview of the 2nd Infantry Division headquartered in Penang.
The setting up of the 31st Border Brigade, will allow for the the reassignment of the Fifth Brigade in Sabah to the planned Fifth Division. The new division will be headquartered in Sabah. Apart from the Fifth Brigade, the new division will have two other brigade-sized units with the third Border Brigade expected to be stood up in Sabah.
The third brigade of the new division will come out from Task Force 450, the unit set up in Eastern Sabah following the Lahad Datu incursion. The Army plans to expand the Task Force 450 into a combined arms brigade to be based in ESSCOM area of operations.
Both the 1st and the new divisions will come under the purview of the Army’s Eastern Field Command which was set-up following a study of its operations during the Lahad Datu incursion.
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