Neha Patil (Editor)

Grup Gerak Khas

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Country  Malaysia
Type  Special forces
Branch  Malaysian Army
Size  Three regiments
Grup Gerak Khas
Active  January 1960s – First nucleus 7 May 1965 – Malaysian Special Service Unit (MSSU) 1 August 1970 – Rejimen Pertama Gerak Khas Malaysia (1 RGKM; 1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment) 1981 – Grup Gerak Khas
Role  Primary tasks: Unconventional Warfare Foreign Internal Defence Special Reconnaissance Direct Action Counter-terrorism Asymmetric warfare Other roles: Counterproliferation Information operations Humanitarian missions

The Grup Gerak Khas (English: Special Service Group, Jawi: ڬروڤ ڬرق خاص) is a special forces regiment of the Malaysian Army which conducts special operations missions for the Malaysian government, such as direct action, unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering. It is the administrative and operational group to which the three regiments of the Rejimen Gerak Khas and its supporting units are subordinated.


While the GGK traces its origins to 1965 and the post Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, they gained fame and recognition worldwide after successfully pacifying a communist insurgency in the jungles of Malaysia during the Communist insurgency between 1968 and 1989.

21 Gerup Gerak Khas is commanded by a Brigadier General and is currently located at Iskandar Camp, in Mersing, Johor comprising 11 Gerak Khas Regiment tasked to counter-terrorism, 21 Commando Regiment and 22 Commando Regiment. The three regiments' tasks are guerrilla/anti-guerrilla warfare, escape and evasion, subversion, sabotage, counter terrorism, asymmetric warfare and their most highly regarded expertise – jungle warfare.


The Special Forces Directorate was established in the Ministry of Defence, late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein on 1960s to co-ordinate the operations of the special forces regiments during the Indonesian Confrontation. In 1965, the Ministry of Defence called for volunteers from the Army and Navy for Commando training. On 25 February 1965, introductory training was conducted at Majidee Camp, Johor Bahru by the British 40 Commando of the Royal Marines. The selection was harsh, and from the initial 300 personnel who volunteered, only 15 were selected to undergo the six weeks Basic Commando course. Of these, only four officers and nine other ranks passed. Here is the list of men who were part of the nucleus team which later formed the GGK :qq

  1. Major Abu Hassan Bin Abdullah (Colonel retired)
  2. Lieutenant Mohd Ramli Bin Ismail (Major General retired)
  3. Second Lieutenant Ghazali Bin Ibrahim (Major General retired)
  4. Second Lieutenant Hussin Bin Awang Senik (Colonel retired)
  5. 4861 Staff Sergeant Zakaria Bin Adas
  6. 6842 Sergeant Ariffin Bin Mohamad
  7. 300152 Sergeant Anuar Bin Talib
  8. 201128 Sergeant Yahya Bin Darus
  9. 202072 Corporal Silva Dorai
  10. 203712 Corporal Moo Kee Fah
  11. 13852 Lance Corporal Johari Bin Haji Morhd Siraj
  12. 10622 Lance Corporal Sabri Bin Ahmad

This unit is partly based on by the 40th Royal Marines Commandos and was then called Malaysian Special Service Unit. Such was the beginning of the Malaysian Gerup Gerak Khas (Special Service Group). With assistance from instructors from 40 Commando Royal Marines, the Special Service Group expanded and in 1965 alone conducted six Basic Commando courses. On 1 August 1970 the 1st Special Service Regiment was formed at Sungai Udang Camp in Malacca. In January 1981, Markas Grup Gerak Khas was established in Imphal Camp, Kuala Lumpur to act as the Brigade Headquarters for the three special forces regiments. The headquarters group would also include combat support units and service support units.

Gerup Gerak Khas was renamed 21 Gerup Gerak Khas which formalises the formation as the 21st brigade group in the Malaysian Army.


Sungai Udang Camp was the acknowledged Home of the Commandos and its spiritual home. Members of the regiment trained with foreign special forces units from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia and the United States of America, further enriching the knowledge base. Under the 3rd Malaysian Plan and the expansion of the Armed Forces, the PULPAK – Pusat Latihan Peperangan Khas (Special Warfare Training Centre) was established. In 1983, 22nd Commando Regiment moved to Kuala Kubu Baru due to congestion at Sungai Udang Military Camp.

21 Gerup Gerak Khas and its regiments and support units have moved to Iskandar Camp, the new Special Operations Force base in Mersing. Situated 15 km south of Mersing, Iskandar Camp covers an area of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2). Facilities include 200 buildings, 20 km of roads, 3 bridges, a harbour, landing pads, parade squares and other facilities. The project cost was RM422 million. The new base was named Kem Iskandar, after the Sultan of Johor, a staunch supporter of Rejimen Gerak Khas and its current colonel in chief.


The Malaysian Special Forces is subordinated to the Armed Forces HQ and Army HQ. The three regiments of Gerak Khas are grouped under 21 Gerup Gerak Khas. This brigade sized unit also includes supporting units such as Signals and Engineer units. 11 Gerup Gerak Khas is currently also tasked with the CRW function.

Gerup Gerak Khas faces problems retaining members nearing the end of their enlistment, and finding new recruits to replace existing commandos once they reached the mandatory age limit. Concerned with high numbers of special Forces personnel leaving the service, the Malaysian Government increased, as of 1 January 2005, the monthly incentive payments to RM600 for those who have served between 1 and 10 years, RM750 for those who had served between 11 and 15 years and RM900 for those whose service have exceeded 16 years.

Special Forces Directorate

The Special Forces Directorate is a small group of around 20 personnel, tasked with planning and co-ordination of resources and equipment of Gerup Gerak Khas. The directorate also provides assistance during operational deployment of Gerup Gerak Khas units and formulate policy guidelines. The Cell also undertakes Planning and Intelligence tasks as well as Operational Research Section.

Special Warfare Training Centre

Pusat Latihan Peperangan Khusus (PULPAK) (Special Warfare Training Centre) was formed on 1 August 1976. Before its inception, all GGK personnel training was conducted by 1st RGK (now 21 GGK). However, 21st Commando, 22nd Commando and 11th RGK are still supporting PULPAK by providing manpower and expertise. The role of SWTC is to provide specialised courses and training for all army personnel in accordance with current situation:

  1. To conduct basic commando training for the Malaysian Army and other services (Navy, Air Force).
  2. To train personnel of Special Operations Forces as well as other soldiers in specialised training and special operations as required by higher authority.
  3. To conduct advanced training for Special Operations Forces and army personnel as directed by higher authority.
  4. To conduct training evaluation test on Special Operations Forces Units.
  5. To provide observers and qualified instructors for specialised assignments in Special Operations Forces Units.
  6. To revise and analyse all doctrines pertaining to specialised training and operations.

Courses conducted at PULPAK: (Some advanced courses are still classified)


All members of GGK train with the SAS (United Kingdom / New Zealand / Australia) as well as the US Army's 1st Special Forces Group (1st Bn, Okinawa, Japan) and United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance units. 1st Bn/1st SFG usually drops by a few times a year. The GGK and the Indonesian's Kopassus enjoy a close relationship.

All GGK trainees must pass five different training phases:

Camp Training
Organized in five weeks, this phase is actually the most important level to test and develop individual physical & mental resistance. Physical endurance, weapon handling, explosives handling, tactics & stratagem implementation (muslihat), field medical, rappelling / abseiling and map reading skills are among the exercises conducted. The trainees are also required to undergo several series of long range march with full combat load. Range is increased from 4.8 km, 8km, 11.2 km, 14 km to 16 km respectively. Usually, some of the trainees fail to arrive at the designated checkpoint within the stipulated time and they will be sent back to their original unit or other services ("turun skot" – according to the Army's lingo).
Jungle Training
This two-week jungle training is a favourite among the trainees. This is where the trainees will be exposed to practical training, field skills & know-how such as guarding & patrolling, establishing base, survival and section/troop combat.
Swamp Training and Long Range March
In this phase, all trainees undergo a tough combat march along with their 17 kg pack and reach the target 160km in three days. Those who succeed will continue to live in the swampy area for seven days without food supply or proper clothing (they wear only underwear). They will practise all survival lessons here.
Sea Training
The sea training is conducted in two weeks, where the trainees are exposed to practical exercises such as small craft navigation, long range/silent rowing and coastal attack using Rigid-hulled inflatable boats, scuba diving and kayaks. After completing the 'curriculum', they will travel 160km along the Straits of Malacca using kayaks.
Escape and Evasion (E&E)
All trainees are deployed in groups and they must report to several agents at designated checkpoints. They must know how to contact their agents and evade the "enemy" who controls that area. If they are caught, they will be tortured and abused. The trainees will then be released and continue their journey until they arrive at the last checkpoint.


The 2nd Special Service Regiment was established on 1 January 1977, based at Sungai Udang Camp, Malacca. In 1979, Colonel Borhan Bin Ahmad was appointed the Commandant of Special Warfare Training Centre. A separate Special Forces Directorate was established in the Ministry of Defence on 4 April 1980 and the Markas Grup Gerak Khas (HQ Special Forces Group) was established in Imphal Camp, Kuala Lumpur. As such, supporting units were attached to Gerup Gerak Khas.

The commando units were then redesignated and 1st Special Service Regiment became 21st Regiment Para Commando and 2 Special Service Regiment became 22nd Regiment Para Commando. On 1 April 1981, the 11th and 12th Special Service Regiments were formed to provide support to 21st Commando and 22nd Commando. However 12th Special Service Regiment was disbanded soon after during the realignment of the Malaysian Army in the 1980s and its members were deployed to other combat units. Further to this development, the designation for the Para Commando Regiment was changed to the Commando Regiment. In 1983, 22nd Commando Regiment moved to Kuala Kubu Baru due to insufficient facilities in Sungai Udang Camp. All three as well as the Royal Malaysian Navy PASKAL will be soon moving out to the new SOF base in Mersing, facing the South China Sea unlike the Sungai Udang which is facing the very busy waterway of the Straits of Malacca. Sungai Udang Camp is very small and lacking in many facilities for a good SOF base and training centre. It is also near to a massive oil refinery and countless condominium projects which makes it unsuitable for security and practical reasons. The 3 regiments again had a name change, becoming known as 11th CRW Regiment, 21st Commando Regiment and 22nd Commando Regiment.

Sungai Udang Camp was certified as the ‘Home of the Commandos’. Its achievements attracted many volunteers from other corps. Lieutenant Colonel Borhan bin Ahmad was the first administrator of MSSG responsible for expanding the Special Operations Forces. Various activities including sports and other Army activities were organised to get the SOF involved. Joint programs are conducted with other countries such as Britain, New Zealand, Australia and the United States of America to improve knowledge and to get new experience in certain aspects of SOF operations.

In the Third Malaysia Plan and the expansion of the Armed Forces, Special Warfare Training Centre (SWTC) was established on 1 August 1976. The function is to fulfill the training requirements for the Special Forces Team. After the establishment of SWTC, the Second Regiment of Special Service was established on 1 January 1977. All the three units were based in Sungai Udang, Malacca. In 1979, SWTC was fully established with Colonel Borhan bin Ahmad as the Commandant.

The Special Forces Directorate was established in the Ministry of Defence on 4 April 1980. Further to this, in January 1981, Grup Gerak Khas Command Headquarters was established in Imphal Camp, Kuala Lumpur. The establishment of the Special Operations Forces group also involved other elements such as the combat support units and service support units. At the same time the names of the commando units were redesignated to 21st Regiment Para Commando and 22nd Regiment Para Commando.


Many members of the Regiment has been decorated for bravery and gallantry. Notable awards received by members of the Regiment include

  • Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP)
  • 19151 Lance Corporal Rusli Bin Buang
  • Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB)
  • Major Ahmad Bin Rashid (410336)
  • Major Baharin Bin Abd Jalil (410560)
  • 14812 Warrant Officer II Maamor Bin Said
  • 23852 Sergeant Ali Bin Ahmad
  • 16075 Corporal Zaki Bin Nordin
  • 901370 Trooper Sigal s/o Nawan
  • 928133 Sergeant Moid Bin Mohamad
  • Regimental motto and crest

    The Regimental motto is "Cepat Dan Cergas" (Swift and Agile).

    The Regiment Crest, fondly called "Harimau Berjuang" or fighting tiger, comprises a roaring tiger and the commando dagger. Green signifies the Regiment's status as a Commando regiment. Blue symbolises the close relationship between Gerak Khas with 40 Commando Royal Marines. The Tiger denotes bravery, signifying ferocity and might. The Commando knife defines the commando status of the Regiment – only commandos use the commando knife.


    The Gerak Khas wears the same BDU uniforms as other combat elements of the Malaysian Army, but are distinguished by their Green beret with GERAKHAS insignia, blue lanyard rope on their right shoulder (originated from 40th Royal Marine Commando), commando dagger engraved with GERAKHAS, highly folded sleeves, and their GERAKHAS shoulder tab. Parachute wings are worn over the left pocket, but only by those who specialise in air training.

    Green Beret

    Members of Gerak Khas wear the Green Beret, a common symbol amongst the commando and special forces community. The "Harimau Berjuang" cap badge is worn with the green beret.

    Blue Lanyard

    Members of Gerak Khas also wear the blue lanyard, an honour accorded to them by 40 Commando, Royal Marines. 40 Commando was instrumental in training the original members of 1st Special Service Regiment, the forerunner of 21 Komando. Personnel of both 40 Commando Royal Marine and Gerak Khas wear the traditional blue lanyards.

    Shoulder Flash

    Members of the regiment also wear a 'Gerakhas' shoulder tab.

    The blue colour symbolises close relationship between the Malaysian Special Service Group with 40th Royal Marine Commando (British) . The formation of Malaysian Special Service Group (MSSG) was initiated by 40th Royal Marine Commando which was also responsible for the training and imparting of specialised skills to these selected personnel. Personnel of 40th Royal Marine Commando and Special Forces Units wear the traditional blue lanyards.
    All qualified personnel of Special Forces are awarded the green berets. Green beret is also a commonly worn headgear of the other Special Forces in the world. The green colour also symbolises Islam – the official religion of Malaysia.
    Tiger denotes bravery. The mean and unwaning features of the tiger portrays ferocity and might. These characteristics are to be possessed and portrayed by personnel of the Special Forces.
    The dagger symbolises the essence of decisiveness, steadfastness and inherent ability of rationalisation possessed by the personnel of the Special Forces. The unsheathed dagger portray the status of combat readiness of the Special Forces Units which are ever ready for all eventualities at all times. Its vertical alignment denotes the spirit and aspiration of the Special Forces personnel.
    Cepat dan Cergas
    The slogan ‘Cepat Dan Cergas’ (Fast & Agile) is chosen in accordance with the role and tasks of the special forces. Its personnel must be efficient, nimble and brave

    Communist Terrorist Insurgency 1966–1990

    During the communist insurgency, Regiment Gerak Khas members fought in the Malaysian Jungle.

    Spratly Islands

    While deployment of Rejimen Gerak Khas units are secretive, it has been understood that Army and Navy Special Forces have been deployed to back Malaysia's claim to several islets in the Spratly Islands.

    Battle of Mogadishu (1993)

    Grup Gerak Khas was involved in the high-profile operations including deployment with the Royal Malay Regiment and units of the Pakistani army to rescued trapped US Rangers and Delta Force in the gunfight at Bakhara Market, Mogadishu, Somalia against the forces of the warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid. One GGK personnel was killed, and several others wounded.

    16th Commonwealth Games

    Grup Gerak Khas was deployed with Pasukan Gerakan Khas (police counter-terrorist unit) to provide security and was on standby for Hostage Rescue during the 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Grup Gerak Khas members were deployed to Bosnia, the one and only commando unit from South East Asia to have served in Bosnia.

    Timor Leste 2006

    The units were deployed with other troopers from 10 Paratrooper Brigade and Royal Malaysian Police elite team, Pasukan Gerakan Khas to calm troubles in Timor Leste, in an Australian-led mission called Operation Astute.

    Genting Sempah Incident

    In July 2007, 22nd Gerak Khas co-operated with elite 10 Paratrooper Brigade, PASKAU and Pasukan Gerakan Khas and supported by the US Navy, police General Operations Force, Fire and Rescue Department, Forestry Department rangers, Civil Defence Department (JPA3) and villagers were deployed to search and rescue six missing air force crew who were involved in the Sikorsky S61 Nuri helicopter crash near Genting Sempah, in Genting Highlands. However, the SAR team found the wreckage of the helicopter, with its rotor blades detached at 5 km northwest of location at 17 July 1324 hrs. All six RMAF crew on board were killed and their bodies were found in the cabin.

    MALCON – UNIFIL 2007

    Grup Gerak Khas units were deployed with 10 Paratrooper Brigade, PASKAL and PASKAU involved MALCON – UNIFIL to serve in Lebanon.


    The special forces included Grup Gerak Khas, PASKAU, 10 Paratrooper Brigade and PASKAL was deployed with other Malaysian contingents to involve the administrative workload at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The team was deployed to assist the New Zealand Armed Forces in the peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid at the Bamiyan District, Afghanistan.

    2013 Lahad Datu standoff

    Grup Gerak Khas is mobilised to Lahad Datu, Sabah for 2013 Lahad Datu standoff alongside various other special forces unit. The team played the major role in hunting down the Sulu terrorist group.


    Grup Gerak Khas Wikipedia