From 23 to 26 September 2019, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Special Task And Rescue (STAR) Team held a weapons familiarization training exercise at the Mantin Shooting Range in Negeri Sembilan. Notably, the STAR team members were trained on their new Heckler & Koch HK416A5 assault rifles and SFP9 pistols for the first time ever.
In a Facebook post detailing the training exercise, the MMEA stated that both weapons are new additions to the MMEA inventory. According to the post, both weapons were selected based on their performance in several reliability tests and their accuracy. The MMEA claims that the muzzle report of both weapons can “terrify the enemy”.
Other weapons used during the training exercise include Heckler & Koch UMP9 submachine guns and Blaser Tactical 2 sniper rifles. Familiarization training was carried out both in the daytime and at night.
The commander of the STAR Team stated that the STAR Team is currently undergoing modernisation and restructuring. The modernization process involves procurement of new equipment, weapons, bases and training centers. The restructuring process will similarly improve human resource management of the STAR Team, including an increase in operators to enhance team readiness.
The MMEA had issued a request for tender for the HK416A5 as far back as 2014, according to Malaysian Defence. However, the request was ultimately unsuccessful, due to a change in export policy at Heckler & Koch at the time, which meant that the company would only sell to countries that were “democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners”.
The amount of HK416A5s and SFP9s procured is currently unknown. However, the successful procurement of the HK416A5 is likely to be of interest to Malaysia’s other law enforcement and military special forces units such as VAT 69, who have adopted other weapons like the Colt APC as a result of the previous export restrictions.