Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Malaysia adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008, but has not taken any steps to join it. It last participated in a meeting of the convention in 2014. Malaysia voted in favor of a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Malaysia states that it does not produce cluster munitions and has never used them. It may have acquired cluster munitions, but has not shared any information on the types or quantities in its possession.


Malaysia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Malaysia has acknowledged the humanitarian rationale for the convention but has not taken any steps to accede to it, except for holding stakeholder consultations in 2011–2012.[1]

Malaysia participated throughout the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and expressed its support for a complete prohibition on cluster munitions, without exception. It joined in the consensus adoption of the convention text at the end of the Dublin negotiations in May 2008, but did not attend the Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008.[2]

Malaysia last participated as an observer at a meeting of the convention in September 2014.[3] Malaysia was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022.

In December 2022, Malaysia voted in favor of a key UNGA resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[4] Malaysia has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

In 2015, Malaysia voted in favor of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution expressing concern at use of cluster munitions by the government of Sudan.[5]

Malaysia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In September 2011, a government official said that Malaysia does not use or produce cluster munitions.[6]

Officials have not denied that Malaysia may possess a stockpile of cluster munitions.[7]

Malaysia has received ASTROS II multi-barrel rocket launchers from Brazil, but it is not known whether these include payloads containing submunitions.[8] Malaysia is also reported to possess the Hydra-70 air-to-surface unguided rocket system, but it is not known if the ammunition types available to it include the M261 multipurpose submunition rocket.[9]

[1] In September 2012, Malaysia informed States Parties that the government was “in consultation with relevant stakeholders with the view to studying the possibility of Malaysia acceding to the Convention.” This repeated a statement made in September 2011 that described the consultations as “a continuous and on-going process.” Both the 2011 and 2012 statements concluded, “we hope Malaysia will be able to join the Convention in the near future.” Statement of Malaysia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 11 September 2012; and statement by Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Undersecretary for Multilateral Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Head of Malaysian Delegation, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

[2] For details on Malaysia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2010, see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), p. 227.

[3] Malaysia participated as an observer at the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2011–2013, as well as at intersessional meetings in 2011 and 2014. However, it did not attend the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015.

[4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[5] In the resolution’s preamble, the Security Council expressed “concern at evidence, collected by AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), of two air-delivered cluster bombs near Kirigiyati, North Darfur, taking note that UNAMID disposed of them safely, and reiterating the Secretary-General’s call on the Government of Sudan to immediately investigate the use of cluster munitions.” UNSC, “Prioritizing Civilian Protection, Drawdown Benchmarks, Security Council Adopts Resolution 2228 (2015) Renewing Mandate of Darfur Mission until 30 June 2016,” 29 June 2015.

[6] CMC meeting with delegates from Southeast Asia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 15 September 2011. Notes by the CMC.

[7] On 18 March 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote to the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask if Malaysia possessed a stockpile of cluster munitions following a news article in Berita Harian Online that included an undated photo showing a member of the Royal Malaysian Air Force with a CB-250K cluster bomb produced by Chile. The accompanying caption indicated that the soldier was offering an explanation of the weapon’s function and suggested the weapon was part of the air force’s arsenal. HRW did not receive a response. However, Malaysian officials told the Monitor in March 2010 that the government sent a reply stating that the cluster bomb in the photo was only a mock version. Interview with Ministry of Defense officials, Kuala Lumpur, 12 March 2010. One official noted that he had previously asked a CMC campaigner why Malaysia was not on the CMC list of countries that stockpile cluster munitions.

[8] Brazil, United Nations (UN) Register of Conventional Arms, Submission for Calendar Year 2002, 28 April 2004. Brazil reported the transfer of 12 launch units, and the Arms Transfers Database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) notes that the US$300 million deal was signed in 2007 and deliveries began in 2009; and Brazil, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Submission for Calendar Year 2009, 7 June 2010. In this report, Brazil reports the transfer of one ASTROS launcher.

[9] Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, January 2008).