The National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM; Template:Lang-ms) is a military university located in Sungai Besi Camp, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The university is Malaysia's first catering to the needs and development of the Malaysian Armed Forces. There are around 2,700 undergraduate students, with over 1,300 of them Officer Cadets that undergo four to six years of training.


UPNM was originally Akademi Tentera Malaysia (ATMA), or the Malaysian Armed Forces Academy, which was established on 1 June 1995. It was an organisation that offered bachelor's degrees in the fields of engineering, sciences and managements, with military training.

The bachelor's degree courses were accredited and awarded by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in the beginning. The lecturers came from within the armed forces, some hired by the academy and the rest deputised by UTM.

On 10 November 2006, ATMA was upgraded to university status creating the current UPNM. The establishment of the university was announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during the Budget 2007 reading in the Malaysian Parliament. The setting up of the university cost RM 500 million and was fully borne by the Government of Malaysia.

The university's first intake of students was for the 2007/2008 session with new changes by taking the first intake of civilian undergraduates. Though the university was young, it has already chalked up over 11 years of experience in education and training since 1995 with over 1000 graduates in the fields of engineering, computer science and management. These graduates have also been inducted as full officers of the Malaysian Army, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Air Force, government sectors and non-government sectors.[1]



UPNM's main campus is at the Sungai Besi Camp in Kuala Lumpur. The campus was completed in 2002 as part of ATMA.[2]

Academy grounds and facilitiesEdit

  • Bestari Building was named after the Malay word for "intelligence", it is the home of the academic faculties, lecture rooms, main lecture hall (Bestari Hall) and the old library. It has eleven floors. The middle floors (4th and 5th floor) were home to the old Library but now hold labs of the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty. The student bookstore is housed on the ground floor and Bestari Hall is at the south part of the building. Electric Engineering Department labs are in its east wing while Civil Engineering Department labs are in its west wing. Bestari Block was constructed in 2002.
  • Pendekar Hall was built in 2002 as a sports hall where the cadets were taught Taekwondo and Silat. In 2009 it was converted into a lecture/academic hall with a capacity for 500 student desks. It is named after Malay word for "warrior".
  • Tun Templer Hall was named after a British military commander in Malaya, Field Marshal Sir Gerald Walter Robert Templer. It was built before the existence of ATMA/UPNM for the Royal Military College (Malaysia). The hall now serves multiple functions, especially semester final examinations, annual cadet graduation and annual commission ceremony, as one of the main halls for UPNM and RMC both.
  • Officer Cadet Mess is the home of the Cadet Mess Hall and accommodates 1,500 cadets for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Built in 2002 and is exclusively for the university's officer cadets. Besides taking their meal, cadets can also read newspapers or watch TV at the mess lounge. The mess provides entertainment facilities for cadets such as karaoke lounge, snooker and pool, dart and foosball.
  • Chancellery was formerly the headquarters of Military Training Academy (ALK), it was renovated in 2009 and now houses the office of vice-chancellor and university administration staff offices.
  • Old Library was formerly incorporated into the Bestari Building fourth and fifth floor. It acts as a center for university ICT and electronic resources.
  • General Tun Ibrahim Library was completed in 2010 and officiated on 15 December 2011. Situated beside the university's swimming pool, the four-storey building provides the students with books, reference and electronic resources. The building is shared with the UPNM Center of Information Technology.

Cadet quartersEdit

1st apartment complex

  • Satria Block was named after the Malay traditional word for "knights" and built in 2002. As of 2009, it is home to cadets from the First Battalion (Tuah Battalion). it was home to the intakes of 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. It also houses the Military Training Academy (ALK) HQ and office of the commandant. The 11-storey block is the home of Lekiu Battalion, which is the battalion of the basic year cadets.
  • Perwira Block is the home for three battalions, which are Jebat Battalion, Kasturi Battalion and Lekir Battalion. All three of these battalions share the block facilities. Kasturi cadets live in second to fourth floor. Lekir cadets live in fifth to seventh floor, while Jebat cadets occupy eighth to eleventh floor. It was built in 2002 and is named after the Malay traditional word for "heroes". It was once home to the intakes of 2003, 2004 and 2006. It houses the university's cafeteria and some business premises such as stationery store, tailor and sports store.
  • Srikandi Block is home to female cadets. It was built in 2002 and is named after the traditional Malay word for "female hero".

Echo Valley

  • Once a barrack-style residential block, it was rebuilt into a three four-storey buildings in 2009 to cater for the increasing numbers of officer cadets but currently accommodates civilian students. The blocks are A, B and C blocks, situated in a valley as the name suggests.
  • A Block was formerly home to cadets from the Lekir Battalion which held the title as Prime Battalion. The Echo Valley itself is nicknamed the Prime valley as it was home to the first ever Prime Battalion: Lekir Battalion. Lekir Battalion is named after Malacca Sultanate Era warrior "Hang Lekir". The block was rebuilt and completed in 2009.
  • B Block was rebuilt in 2009.
  • C block was also rebuilt in 2009, it was home to cadets of the First Battalion (Tuah Battalion). Tuah Battalion is named after Malacca Sultanate Era warrior Hang Tuah.

2nd apartment complex

  • C4 Block and C5 Block, built in 2004 but first accommodated in 2007, houses cadets from Zulu battalion, which are the final year cadets. The final year cadets are the privileges to stay in this block because the houses are fully furnished and have four rooms and three bathrooms. Once home to the intake of 2007 and Lekir Battalion.

3rd accommodation complex

  • Seribu Block was completed in 2011 to accommodate around 1000 students. A large dining hall that serves as cafeteria resides next to the accommodation block.
  • New Srikandi Block/500 block is new accommodation built for female students, cadets and civilians alike. Designated for the capacity of 500 students. Formerly the academy old Quartermaster site before being replaced. Completed in 2011.

Residential colleges for civilian studentsEdit

  • Kolej Lumayan is located outside the main campus near Taman Tasik Permaisuri. It was the residential college for ROTU (Reserve Officer Training Unit) or PALAPES undergraduates.
  • Kolej C4 was a residential college for the civilian students. The accommodation was designated for foundation and first year undergraduate students.

Athletic facilitiesEdit

The university demands all of its students participate actively in sports. Some of the facilities are :

  • Swimming Pool Complex consists of Olympic-sized 50-meter pool, pool stand, volleyball court and physical fitness test set circuit. Cadets swim there and the inter-battalion swimming competition is held here.
  • Main field accommodates sports such as football, rugby, cricket, hockey, netball, taekwondo and military unarmed combat training (TTS).
  • Tennis courts for tennis practice and events. It has four courts.
  • Futsal/handball courts provides ground for futsal and handball practice and events.
  • Squash court
  • Gym
  • Football stand completed in 2009. also known as the Pavilion.[3]
  • Boat house accommodates canoes, kayaking and boats. The lake is the site for cadet military training such as lake crossing. The boat house was completed in 2009.


The former Commandant of ATMA, Lt. General Dato' Wira Ir. Ismail Samion was appointed as the first vice-chancellor of UPNM. His appointment created history in the Malaysian higher education scene as the first military personnel appointed to be vice-chancellor of a local university. Ismail was Commandant of ATMA for six years prior to the appointment.

The current Vice-Chancellor is Jen Tan Sri Hj Zulkifli Hj Zainal Abidin who appointed to the post in 2013.

     ATMA Commandants/UPNM Vice-Chancellor
   1. Lt Jen Dato' Ismail Hassan               1995 - 1996
   2. Mej Jen Dato' Abd Ghani Yunus              1996 - 1997
   3. Brig Jen Baharudin Abdul Kadir             1997 - 1997
   4. Brig Jen Dato' Adenan Mohamad Zain            1998 -
   5. Brig Jen Azizan Ariffin            -
   6. Lt Jen Dato' Wira Ir. Ismail Samion (VC)            2002 - 2008
   7. Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj Zulkifli Hj Zainal Abidin (VC)   2008 - 2010
   7. Lt Jen Dato' Wira Allatif bin Mohamed Noor (VC)      2010 - 2013
   8. Jen Tan Sri Hj Zulkifli Hj Zainal Abidin (VC)            2013–Present
     ATMA/UPNM Commanding Officers (CO)
   1. Lt Kol Badrulzaman Abd Rani           1995 - 1996
   2. Lt Kol Azroie Ahmad      1996 - 1997
   3. Lt Kol Mohammad Azudin Othman Fuad   1997 - 1998
   4. Kol Mohd Shukuri Ahmad      1998 - 2004
   5. Lt Kol          2004 - 2005
   6. Lt Kol Ahmad Sazali Sukardi     2005 - 2006
   7. Lt Kol Zakaria borhan      2006 - 2009
   8. Lt Kol Abdul Aziz Ismail                          2009 - 2010
   9. Lt Kol Kamal Idris Johari     2010 - 2011
   10. Lt Kol Chan Weng Poh             2011 - 2013
   11. Lt Kol Wan Azni bin Hj Wan Muhammad           2013–Present


Cadets are educated and graded on their performance in academics, physical fitness, and military leadership.

The academic program consists of a core of 11 courses balanced in the managements, sciences and engineerings. Cadets choose their courses in the end of their foundation year.

The physical program includes physical education classes and competitive athletics. Every cadet participates in an intercollegiate, club or intramural (called Inter-Battalion Sports) level sport each year. As with all soldiers in the Armed Forces, cadets also must pass a physical fitness test (UKA) twice per year. Additionally, during each end year-session, cadets must undergo Single Service Training (LKPT)—which generally is regarded by cadets to be the "worst 6 weeks of the year."

Cadets learn military skills, including leadership, through a military program (LKU) that begins on their first day at the university. Most military training takes place during the end-semester holiday, with new cadets undergoing Cadet Basic Training (LFI) — or "Square bashing". Additionally, cadets are housed in barracks style floor-by-floor management at accommodation blocks and have leadership positions and responsibilities throughout the academic year.

Every mid-semester, the young men and women train at the campus camp; campus fields for physical trainings, 1RAMD obstacle course and shooting range for obstacle course exercise and shooting practice, and RMC's parade ground for drills. In this six-week part of LKU at the campus, the cadets are introduced to a basic firearms and training exercises. The battalions are in command of appointed rank holders and final year cadets. The super-seniors are in officer positions such as Platoon leader and Company commanders. At the end of the six-week UKMHK session, awards are given out to the best battalion based on the best performance at each training site.

Moral-ethical development occurs throughout the formal programs. These include formal instruction in the values of the military profession, religious programs, and interaction with staff and faculty role models. The foundation of the ethical code at the university is found in the institution's motto, "Duty, Honor, Integrity." Cadets adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."


Academic programmeEdit

Defence Engineering FacultyEdit
  • Civil engineering
  • Electric & Electronic (Power) engineering
  • Electric & Electronic (Communication) engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Mechanical - Automotive engineering
  • Mechanical - Aeronautic engineering
  • Mechanical - Marine technology engineering
  • Art defence engineering
Defence Sciences FacultyEdit
  • Computer science (Security system)
  • Computer science (Artificial intelligence)
  • Maritime technology
Faculty of Defence Management StudiesEdit
  • Defence human resource management
  • Strategic studies
Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health SciencesEdit
  • Bachelor of Medicine

Military programmeEdit

Besides pursuing an academic programme, students undergo military training. Military training is organised by the ALK. When a new cadet arrives, they undergo a six-weeks induction training (LFI), also called Latihan Tunas Wira. The day a new cadet reports to the institution is called Tunas Wira Day, which is adopted from the R-Day from the West Point Military academy. On the first day, upon registration at Tun Templer Hall, their hair is cut by university barbers, and they collect military uniforms and items from the Quartermaster.

New cadets are shown to their rooms and change to military uniforms for camp orientation and drill training. Their status as an officer cadet will not be confirmed until they finish the induction training period, and meanwhile are called 'Bakal Pegawai Kadet' (soon-to-be cadet) throughout this period. During the period, new cadets are taught military basics such as parade drills, physical training and firearms handling. They are also taught teamwork, perseverance and endurance. Seniors cadets teach them mess etiquette.

New cadets who pass this training are confirmed as an officer cadet and a ceremony is held at the main field. There is a performance, usually a platoon battle drill, in front of the VIPs, officers, senior cadets and parents who are invited to the event. The Vice-Chancellor awards each newly appointed officer cadet the UPNM beret.

The cadets undergo further training as they rise through the ranks at the university. For the army and air force cadets, they learn basic jungle training at Camp Kongkoi, the university's training camp situated in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. They learn survival, compass marching and river-crossing training. They are taught the use of firearms such as Minimi and GPMG.

Military training is usually conducted between May to July and November to December, on end of semesters at the break of academic programmes. But cadets still perform training throughout the academic period including daily duties, morning parades, daily sport parades, Wednesday cross country and occasional night events. Unarmed combat training is held on Friday evenings and general military training occupies the whole of Saturday.

The Naval cadets will annually be attached to KD Sultan Idris I, a naval-officers training establishment in Lumut Base located in Perak to undergo their naval training. They will learn naval routines and culture, seamanship, on-job training and naval warfare lessons at the base. For Seaman cadets, they will be attached to Royal Malaysian Navy's warships for six month for their practical training.

For final year cadets, they will undergo more challenging and advanced training. The Zulu, which they are recognised, will undergo a seven-month-long Final Year Military Training (LKTA). They undergo Self-confidence training which includes activities such as confidence training at Commando camp, 10 meter dive, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) training and mountain-hiking of Gunung Ledang. They continue with Counter-Insurgency Warfare (CIW) and Conventional Warfare (CW) field exercises which are held as real field exercise, usually in the area of Negeri Sembilan and Pahang. A cadet must complete this training to be commissioned as officers in the Malaysian Armed Forces.

Civilian students register under the Reserve Officer Training Unit (ROTU), and will serve the military as reserves. Their participation in the ROTU is compulsory. The ALK is responsible for their training programme. Civilian students who graduate to bachelor's degree level are commissioned as a military officer with the ranks of Second Lieutenant in the reserve after completing military training.



Unlike virtually all other bachelor-degree granting institutions in Malaysia (but like the other military academies in Malaysia), the university does not refer to its students as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors; they are instead called by their year of intake e.g. "2002", "2003", "2004", "20XX".

Colloquially, the freshmen are "tahun asas (basic year)"; sophomores, "tahun satu (year 1)"; juniors, "tahun dua (year 2)"; seniors, "tahun tiga (year 3)"; super-senior, "tahun empat (year 4)". Most cadets consider basic year to be the most difficult because of the rules and restrictions developed to help students transition from civilian to military cadet. However, the third and fourth years are generally considered to be the hardest academically.

Within the university, cadets who reached year three or four can hold positions of increasing responsibility with a cadet rank:

  • Cadet: Member of platoon - year 1 to year 4 cadet.
  • Cadet Corporal: - year 1 to year 4 cadet.
  • Cadet Sergeant: Leader of a platoon - year 3 and year 4 cadet.
  • Cadet CSM (KSM): Cadet Company Sergeant Major. Second in charge of a company - year 3 and year 4 cadet.
  • Cadet JUO (PRM): Cadet Junior Under Officer. Leading a company/second in charge of a battalion - year 3 and year 4 cadet.
  • Cadet SUO (PRK): Cadet Senior Under Officer. Leading a battalion or the cadet brigade - year 4 cadet.



In the UPNM student organisation, they are divided by two which is Student Representative Council or Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar (consist of military and civilian students) and also rank holder and cadet mess secretariat. see the website of SRC UPNM - *National Defence University of Malaysia Students Representative Council

The cadets have the following organisation:

(The number of cadets is approximate and varies year to year)
  • 1 brigade (1,500 cadets) which consists of:
  • 6 battalions (350 Cadets) which each battalion consist of:
  • 4 companies (75 cadets) which each company consist of:
  • 3 platoons (25 cadets)

There are 6 battalions in the Cadet Brigade which are:

  • Tuah battalion
  • Jebat battalion
  • Kasturi battalion
  • Lekir battalion
  • Lekiu battalion (temporary to foundation year cadets)
  • Zulu battalion (temporary to final year cadets)

All of the battalions, except 'Zulu', are named after five Malay folks heroes. Each battalion has their own identity such as insignia, emblem, motto, song and war dance. Every cadet holds their battalion's pride in high spirit which can be seen during inter-battalion sports or military competition. Lekiu battalion is the battalion for foundation/basic year cadets, who are living with their own intake for a year before reporting to any one of the Tuah, Jebat, Kasturi or Lekir battalion as first year cadets. Zulu Battalion is the battalion for final year cadets prior to their commissioning. A cadet will leave their battalion to join Zulu after a batch of previous Zulu have been commissioned, usually in January.


Admission to the university is by applying through the Education Ministry's University Central Unit where academic qualification will be evaluated. Candidates then undergo physical, mental and leadership tests for a period of 1–3 weeks which is conducted by the Ministry of Defence.[4]

Admissions requirementsEdit

To be admitted, candidates must be between 18 and 20 years old upon entrance, not be married, and have no legal obligation to support a child, and be of good moral character. The process includes a university application, standardised testing, and personal references. Candidates for admission have a physical aptitude test as well as a complete physical exam, including a separate visual acuity test to be eligible for appointment, although medical waivers are available. Usually, candidates with vision uncorrectable to 20/20, as well as a range of other injuries or illnesses, will be automatically considered for a medical waiver only if they are highly competitive.


Graduates receive a bachelor's degree and are commissioned as young officers in the Army or equivalent rank in the navy or air force with an obligation to serve 10 years active service in the military. Eligibility for particular specialties (infantry, artillery, armour, engineers, etc.) is determined by academic performance and personal preference. A cadet is a first class graduate if he or she has earned a 3.70 or above Accumulated Grade Pointer Average (CPA), second class if 3.0-3.69 or third class if 2.99 and below.[5]

See also Edit


External links Edit

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