50th anniversary of Rifle Company Butterworth

Australia and Malaysia’s deepening relationship has reached a new milestone with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) this month.

FILE PHOTO (May 2016): Australian Army soldiers advance during an ‘attack’ as part of Exercise Haringaroo near Kota Bharu, Malaysia. Photo by Sergeant Janine Fabre.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that over the past 50 years, the Malaysian and Australian Armies have learnt a great deal about each other’s culture and capabilities.

“Malaysia is one of Australia’s closest partners; a partnership forged during Australia’s military commitment to the Malayan peninsula during the Second World War,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Since then, Australia and Malaysia have stood side by side during the difficult times each of our countries has faced.


“Throughout these times, an Australian Army Rifle Company presence at Butterworth has been an enduring feature of Australia’s defence relationship with Malaysia, and of our shared commitment to peace and prosperity in the region.

“Since November 1970, the Australian Army has honed its jungle warfare skills in the mountains of Malaysia.”

Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr said more than 25,000 Australian Army soldiers have served as part of Rifle Company Butterworth [at least some of who are still fighting for recognition over the status of their service].

“Our people have benefited from the rigorous and unique training offered by Rifle Company Butterworth, which has strengthened the Australian Army’s partnership with the Malaysian Army,” Lieutenant General Burr said.

“I was fortunate to serve with Rifle Company Butterworth from December 1986 to March 1987.

“It was a unique opportunity for my platoon to undertake training in jungle warfare and work closely with the Malaysian forces.

“I learned very early in my career the strength of this partnership between our armies.”

Minister Reynolds said Rifle Company Butterworth was also an important part of Australia’s contribution to exercises and activities under the Five Power Defence Arrangements, which contributes to regional security and stability.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, Australia and Malaysia will mark the anniversary in 2021.


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

2 thoughts on “50th anniversary of Rifle Company Butterworth

  • 30/11/2020 at 5:52 pm

    I would like to respond to the article about the 50th anniversary of Rifle Company butterworth. Many veterans are appalled by the Ministers training spin on this event, clearly this is deceitful and dishonest. The Malaysians placed this on their FB page which is much clearer depiction of the nature of RCB https://www.facebook.com/pagemkatm/posts/4703891869682138. The Second Malaysian Emergency (SME) 1970-89 is well documented and there is no reason why the Minister should not recognize it for what it was. The Rifle Company was deployed to ABB to defend Australian assets against communist insurgency not to train. The deceitful use of training as a rouse is likewise, well documented. Continual denial of veterans proper recognition for the period is shameful.

    • 30/11/2020 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you for your comment Linton.
      For others – and to keep them on this page 😉 – and for searchable posterity – here is a copy and paste of the Facebook post you mentioned…

      Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) congratulates Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) for its 50th anniversary of establishment in Malaysia.
      “Your presence and sacrifice here in Malaysian soil in protecting the RMAF Butterworth base during the resurgence of the communist insurgency in 1970-1989 was a remarkable contribution and had always been the highlight of your presence here in Malaysia. Since then, the cooperation and the desire to further develop the friendly relations continue to grow, in preparing for more challenging future ahead.”
      “May the long historical defence collaboration between MAF and Australia Defence Force will further strengthen and expand beyond the bilateral scope and more importantly under the auspices of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program in providing a better future for the subsequent generations.” – GENERAL TAN SRI DATO’ SRI HJ AFFENDI BIN BUANG RMAF, CHIEF OF DEFENCE FORCE


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