Confidential

Kor Risik Diraja: Malaysia’s Intelligence Unit

KRD during a retirement ceremony; via BTDM.my)

Kor Risik Diraja has been operating for 52 years, although much of their operations remain highly classified. The Kor Risik (in English, the ‘Intelligence Corps’) was established in November 1969 to unify the previously fractured intelligence units of the Malaysian army into one body.

The unit was officially awarded ‘royal’ status in recognition of its comtribution to the security of Malaysia in 1997, and thereafter was called Kor Risik Diraja (in English, the ‘Royal Intelligence Corps’).

Today, the KRD is responsible for “planning and implementing Intelligence collection, processing, evaluation and dissemination in the interests of the Malaysian Army and the Malaysian Armed Forces General” [source].

Director General of Defence Intelligence and Chairman of the KRD, General Datuk Ahmad Norihan Jalal, addresses troops during a retirement ceremony
(Img; Director General of Defence Intelligence and Chairman of the KRD, General Datuk Ahmad Norihan Jalal, addresses troops during a retirement ceremony; via BTDM.my)

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP)

The KRD is comprised of multiple units:

  • Defence Staff Intelligence Division – Established in 1981, the unit is responsible for the coordination of national Intelligence strategy.
  • 165th Army Intelligence Battalion – Tactical Intelligence and covert action unit of the KRD.
  • 91st Special Combat Intelligence Regiment – This unit is responsible for combat within the KRD. Members are specialists in unconventional warfare.
  • 92nd Military Special Branch Battalion – The unit is responsible for all specialist intelligence, most of its activities are unknown.
  • 93rd Electronic Warfare and Signals Regiment – This unit, as its name suggests, this unit specialises in electronic and signals warfare. Established in 1968, the unit initially had 14 members. However, it is one of the biggest units of the KRD, though exact membership numbers are currently unknown.
  • The Intelligence Branch – Undertakes various Intelligence activities as tasked by the Director General.
  • Intelligence Administration Department.
  • Intelligence Training Centre.
The KRD Emblem
(Img; The KRD emblem; via WikiCommons)

Recent Operations

Communist Rising

In recent years, Malaysian military forces have been focussed on monitoring and countering communist insurgencies within the country. In 2019, there were reports of meetings of up to 400 people, including former members of the Malayan Communist Party (CPM), sparking security fears of communist rebellion within the region. The rising communist threat has therefore been the KRD’s priority also. The KRD has been responsible for monitoring the rise of communist ideologies within the country.

Cyber Security

In 2019, the Chief of Defence Operations Steering Committee stated that the unit is aiming to update its cyber technology to increase its cyber capabilities ‘in line with developed countries’. This suggests a significant shift to improve the force’s online abilities, in light of increasing security threats such as cyber-attacks and social media misinformation campaigns.

Other Modern Operations

The KRD and Malaysian military at large are increasingly open about their activities to the public. As part of its Golden Jubilee in 2019, the KRD held an open Exhibition to show its technology and educate about the KRD’s function within the Malaysian Army.

Kor Risik Diraja: Malaysia's Intelligence Unit
KRD Members during a retirement ceremony; via BTDM.my)

Recognition

As a result of its specialist operations and contribution to national security, the unit and its operatives are highly decorated. Operatives have received the ‘Grand Knight of Valour’ award, the highest military award that can be bestowed. Multiple other KRD members have received ‘Star of the Commander of Valour’, the second-highest award possible. Other operatives have also received the Malaysian Gift of Courage, another military recognition award.

Summary

The Royal Intelligence Corps, or Kor Risik Diraja, is a Malaysian military unit responsible for intelligence gathering and analysis, counterintelligence, reconnaissance, and propaganda. Comprised of multiple specialist units, the force is integral in the security and Intelligence operations of the Malaysian Army.

Author

Abbi Clark

Abbi is a graduate in Chinese Studies from the University of Nottingham, specialising in Asian politics and International Relations. She is currently studying MA Intelligence & Security Studies at Brunel University London. Her research interests focus on geopolitics and modern defense issues.

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