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Service in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation




Between 1950 and 1967 Australia was involved in two conflicts in what is now known as the Federation of Malaysia. These were:

  • the Malayan Emergency, and
  • the Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia.     More ?
Qualifying service

To have qualifying service for a service pension a Malaya veteran must have:

  • been allotted for duty in an operational area either individually or as a member of a unit, and
  • served in the operational area to which the person was allotted.     More ?
Members not allotted

Not all members of the forces who served in the Malayan Emergency or Indonesian Confrontation were allotted. Consequently not all have qualifying service.

Operational service

Operational service in respect of the Malayan Emergency, and Indonesian Confrontation is service as a member of the Defence Force who, or a member of a unit of the Defence Force that:

  • was assigned for service in Singapore at any time during the period from and including 29 June 1950 to and including 31 August 1957, or
  • was at any time during the period from and including 1 August 1960 and including 27 May 1963, in the area comprising the territory of Singapore and or the Federation of Malaya, or
  • served in an operational area as a person allotted for duty, or a member of a unit that was allotted for duty, in that operational area.
Service Outside Australia in Non-Operational Areas

Sub-section 13(6) of the VEA provides for claims in respect of death or incapacity to be accepted in limited circumstances where the person did not render operational service in an operational area. This provision was introduced in 1962 at the time that top secret operations were being conducted in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) by the Australian Special Air Service Regiment during the period of confrontation with Indonesia.

Because Australia retained diplomatic links with Indonesia throughout this period, Indonesian territory could not be included within the operational area.

The provision provides Repatriation benefits to members of a SAS patrol which, in late May/early June 1965, was attacked by a rogue elephant while operating in Kalimantan. One of the group was badly gored and died before help could be summoned. If a claim is lodged by a member of the patrol and the service documents do not show details of injury or disease at the time of the person's service against hostile forces, further information should be sought from the relevant source.

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

For the purposes of determining a person's eligibility for entitlements under the VEA, being allotted for duty in an operational area (schedule 2 VEA refers) is a reference to a person or unit of the Defence Force, that is allotted for duty by written instrument issued by the:

  • Defence Force,
  • Vice Chief of the Defence Force, or
  • Minister for Defence (deemed allotted subsection 5R(1) refers)

Allotment may be retrospective or prospective.



Qualifying service is one of the criteria used to determine eligibility for certain benefits under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. Refer to section 7A of the VEA for the full defintion.