Federal Reserve Unit

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Federal Reserve Unit
FRU Johor 005.jpg
FRU 3rd group arms with Czech-made CZ 527 bolt actions rifles without ammo during the anti-riot drill.
Active 5 December 1955; 61 years ago (1955-12-05)
Country United Kingdom British Malaya (1955–1960)
 Malaysia (1960–present)
Branch Royal Malaysian Police.svg Royal Malaysia Police
Type Paramilitary police
Role Riot control
Size 10 detachments
Part of Directly under control of the Royal Malaysia Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs
Garrison/HQ Main Police Headquarters, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur
Nickname(s) FRU
Colour of Beret   Red beret
  • 25 March (Police Days Anniversaries)
  • 31 August (Hari Merdeka)

The Federal Reserve Unit (Malay: Pasukan Simpanan Persekutuan; PSP), or better known by the abbreviation as FRU was established as a riot control force and a special response team as well as a paramilitary that can be deployed at any time to engage in any emergency or public unrest in Malaysia.


The team was established before Malaysia achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Starting with three troops, FRU has successfully overcome the problems of public order such as strikes and riots that happened in the early years of the 1950s. From 1990 onwards, FRU also played an important role in handling organised riot that have sparked from the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim.


A member of the Malaysia's Federal Reserve Unit prepares to disperse protesters during the Bersih Rally 2.0.

The main role of this unit is to disperse illegal assembly, riot suppression and to carry out other functions relating to Public Order. The unit is self-contained and capable, highly mobile and become Public Order Reserve Units. When this unit is not involved in Public Order duties, it can be assigned by the Commanding Officer to assist the Chief of Police, State police, Criminal Investigation Division and Special Branch in general or special tasks which include:

  • Crime prevention as special patrol in addition to regular patrol unit / Patrol in the area of high crime frequency;
  • Disaster relief (flood, fire, landslide, air crash and others), evacuation and large scale operation;
  • Setting roadblocks and check points, media censorship, intensive patrol and others.
  • Safeguarding VIP visitors, events, parades, assemblies and others.

As its role became more important, this team was augmented to 7 units, with a total membership in 2003 of 2,481 people. Beside that FRU has also a water cannon unit, horseback unit and training institution at Sungai Senam, Ipoh, Perak. In line with current needs and law claim, a woman special detachment have been spawned and this detachment is based in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur. It has since been moved to its own base located in Cheras.

FRU's performance is known globally. This was evident when the United Nations (U.N.) applied to PDRM to house a riot guard force under U.N. flags in Timor Leste. The team was assigned to control riot and tranquility in a country which just became independent.


Each FRU base has a wing headquarters composed of three troops, A, B and C. Each troop consists of two baton sections, an armed section (rifles, tear gas and grenades), and a guard vehicle section. Specific vocations within them include drivers, photographers, translators, marksmen,signal operators and diary recorders.

Apart from that this team also perform crime prevention to help remote district police chief efforts in reducing crime rates. By that FRU have pointed out success could not be disputed more when entrust to royal pennant parade in the line of honour guard duties.

Light Strike Force (LSF)

Deployed in advance from the main FRU unit, this unit is armed with riot shields and helmets. It is designed and trained to handle small crowds. If the crowd gets larger and uncontrollable, the FRU will be called in to assist.

Public Order and Riot Unit (PORU)

Its members are taken from RMP General Operations Force (Malay: Pasukan Gerakan Am; PGA), it is deployed in states or regions which do not have any FRU bases.


Certain FRU divisions are under the command of the inspector-general of police (IGP) and require prior approval from the IGP to be deployed.


The riot police units were placed at various places around Kuala Lumpur. A unit was on active duty at the Masjid Negara.

The Federal Reserve Unit bases are located in densely populated areas in the country.

Recent operations[edit]

The police form a human line near the National Palace.
  • Event 13 May 1969 - Deployed during the racial riots to control the situation.[1]
  • Involved in the arrest of Ibrahim Libya in the Memali Incident in Baling, Kedah.[2]
  • 27 October 1987 - Involved in Operation Lalang which resulted in the arrest of 106 people under the Internal Security Act including the opposition leader and DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang, ALIRAN President Chandra Muzaffar, DAP Deputy Chairman Karpal Singh, and others.[3]
  • 1998 - Deployed to suppress the resulting street demonstrations after Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia was put into jail for alleged corruption and homosexual practices.
  • 10 November 2007 - FRU deployed for suppressing the 2007 Bersih Rally was a rally held in Kuala Lumpur. As a result, only 245 people were arrested and released the night later.[4][5][6][7]
  • 2007 - Deployed to disperse the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) during their peaceful demonstration in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.[8]
  • 2008 - Joint together with Malaysian Armed Forces and civil agencies to securing the incidents of Bukit Antarabangsa landslide.[9]
  • 2011-FRU were deployed to stop a DAP gathering at Stutong market in Kuching during the 10th Sarawak Election. The attempt failed after negotiations with DAP candidates. However, FRU were later spotted at Miri's Indoor stadium controlling the crowd as the election results were announced. Nevertheless, the night ended peacefully.
  • 9 July 2011 - FRU deployed in capital Kuala Lumpur to suppress Bersih 2.0 rally.
  • 28 April 2012 - FRU deployed in capital Kuala Lumpur to suppress Bersih 3.0 rally.
  • 5 May 2012 - FRU assisted in crowd control operations during Wesak Day procession in Kuala Lumpur.


  1. ^ "Race War in Malaysia". Time. 23 May 1969. 
  2. ^ "Islamic Radicalism in Malaysia: the Middle East connection)" (PDF). YUSOFF KAMARUZAMAN. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
  3. ^ "9/11 changed Hu's view of ISA". Chow, Kum Hor. 
  4. ^ Malaysia police use water cannon at Anwar rally
  5. ^ Teargas used on rare Malaysia demo
  6. ^ Teargas and water cannons used on illegal assembly, 245 held
  7. ^ Updates: Total number of arrests 34 – all released by 11pm; several more injured. Suaram. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  9. ^ "BUKIT ANTARABANGSA TRAGEDY: Temporary halt to search-and-rescue ops". BERNAMA. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2008. 

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