One thing I noticed is that it is so hard to get any information whatsoever about Malaysia’s Askar Wataniah from the web. There’s nothing much on the Ministry of Defence’s website as well.
Recently, I asked somebody who is already in the Askar Wataniah to provide me with some information about the organisation. If I’m not mistaken, she’s a Sergeant in the Askar Wataniah and according to her, she has recruited quite a few youths to join the organisation.
I’ve decided to publish the information that I received below so that it may be of use to others out there who are interested.
1. How do I join?
Any able Malaysian between the age of 18 and 40 are qualified to join. Go to the nearest AW camp to register. They’ll give you some forms to fill in, letter to a govt hospital where you’re required to do your medical check up and x-ray. Return the medical and radiology report to the camp. The camp will process your application. Upon approval, you’ll get your military ID number. Don’t forget to bring along 4 copies of passport sized pics and 2 copies of your academic papers, IC and birth cert.
2. From what rank do I begin with? Private? How about those with tertiary qualifications?
Even with tertiary education, you will have to start as a recruit. You will have to go through one month recruit training at the camp. Upon passing out, you’re a private. Those with tertiary education can pursue an officer course after passing a month of cadre course with the rank of lance corporal. Cadre course prepares you to be a non-commission officer. Without a cadre course, you can’t move up. It’s the most basic officer’s training. You will only be nominated to go for a cadre course after 6 months as a private. But your promotion to lance corporal may come later.
3. How much is the pay?
The current rate is RM3.70 per hour for other ranks (recruit-warrant officer). You have to serve a minimum of 10 hours on one weekend day (lets say you come for training on a Saturday. you have to serve 10 hours. So, you get RM37).
4. What other benefits do I get in the Askar Wataniah?
You get free medical treatment in govt hospitals and specialist treatment in military hospitals. For the non-Muslims, they are entitled to purchase 2 crates of beer per month at duty free price at Pernama. During training, you get free meals, lodging and free transportation. For example, I’ve been to LIMA on a military aircraft (C130).
5. Do I get to choose where I want to go to? i.e. Armor, Intelligence, Military Police, and etc. Are there such divisions in the Askar Wataniah?
So far the AW for weekend soldiers are only in the infantry, workshop, artillery, communications (semboyan) and ordnance. The attachment pretty much depends on your location. For example, the artillery corp is only in Taiping and Melaka.
6. How long is the basic training?
7. What do you have to do throughout the year? Do you have to serve every week? What are the compulsory activities and non-compulsory activities?
There are 240 weekend training hours scheduled for one calendar year. It is conducted every alternate weekend. To keep yourself active, you must attend at least 60 hours of weekend trainings during one calendar year. Trainings on Saturdays starts at 2pm and ends at midnight. Trainings on Sundays starts at 8am and ends a 6pm. You’re encouraged to come for training on Saturday and spend the night at the camp. Everything will be provided for. During the calendar year, there will be at least two continuous training period (one week) where you’ll have the opportunity to apply what you learn during the weekend training. During this training, the AW force will be running the camp and ops just like any regular soldiers. At the end of the year, there will be a 2 weeks annual camp. Again, the ops of your regiment will be taken over by AW. One week will be dedicated to regimental work and the other week will be focused on either counter insurgency warfare or convention warfare practise. There is no non-compulsory activities in the module. You will have to follow the training module accordingly.
Apart from the info above, once you’re an AW, you can apply to be mobilised for a short term period between 6 months to 3 years with an option to extend. Depending on your academic qualifications, they will attach you to the relevant unit. For example, if you’re a civil engineer by training, you will be mobilised in the engineer corps. They rarely send you to an infantry unit for short term mobilisation. This is an excellent opportunity if you’re a graduate and still unemployed. But you will have to live your life like a typical soldier during the mobilisation period.
Disclaimer: I don’t guarantee that all the information above is correct. With regards to the accuracy and timeliness of the information above, please refer to the Malaysian Army yourself.