Practice Relating to Rule 6. Civilians’ Loss of Protection from Attack
Malaysia’s Armed Forces Act (1972) defines the “enemy” as “all persons engaged in armed operations against any of His Majesty’s armed forces or any force co-operating therewith and also includes armed mutineers, armed rebels, armed rioters and pirates”.
On the basis of interviews with members of the armed forces, the Report on the Practice of Malaysia states that during the communist insurgency civilians lost their protection if they actively participated in the insurgency. Persons who merely provided support to the enemy, on the other hand, for example those who supplied it with weapons, food or medicine, or sympathizers, for example journalists who wrote articles supportive of the communist cause, did not lose their civilian status.
The report notes, however, that this did not mean that they were not liable to prosecution under any written laws and refers to specific legislation in this respect.
The Report on the Practice of Malaysia refers to the presumption of civilian character, adding that it governed the behaviour of the armed forces during the campaign against the communist insurgency.