HISTORY OF PALAPES
The origin of the Reserve Officers Training Unit began on April 3rd 1965 with the establishment of the 1st infantry battalion branch of the reserve army at the University of Malaya. It started as a reaction and concern of the staff and students of University of Malaya with regards to the confrontation with Indonesia in 1963.
At its formation stage 30 students from different faculties underwent an elementary recruit course at Seputih training camp in Batu Gajah Perak during their term break. Most of these students had a military or police background, and they were all former students of the royal military college. Racial events of 13th May 1969 resulted in this company spreading to other institute of higher learning, with the establishment of A Company in Mara Institute Of Technology, B Company in the Putra University Of Malaysia, and C Company in the National University Of Malaysia, with University Of Malaya remaining as its battalion headquarters.
The high spirit shown by these students of higher learning prompted the then Director of the reserve army, Brigadier General Dato’ Abul As Bin Ismail to initiate discussion with Vice Chancellors of all the universities to establish the Reserved Officers Training Unit or ROTU.
HISTORY OF ROTU UM HEADQUARTERS
The first headquarters of the 1st battalion infantry of University Of Malaya was housed in a tutorial room at the Faculty Of Arts. As there was no specific building or training site, all training was conducted around campus and at military camps.
In 1969 University Of Malaya together with the Ministry Of Defence agreed to build a new camp for their battalion on a piece of land on Damansara road just at the back of the university campus. The construction was supervised by the public works department and ended with 5 wooden blocks. This camp was shared with the 11th division headquarters at that time. 11th division headquarters had built two additional blocks consisting of a vehicle garage and housing for instructors in 1983. The camp was then handed over to ROTU UM when 11th division headquarters moved to imphal road camp.
Unfortunately the Damansara camp could not still provide full facilities for training purpose as the small lecture room could not accommodate all cadets; there was no parade square and no armory. This problem made training inefficient. The camp was getting old and with limited functions, an effort to build a new camp was initiated by the deputy commandant of that time , Leftenant Colonel Md Affandi Awang in 1994.
On the 2nd of August 1996, a building complex with an area of 8 hectares situated behind Damansara camp at a cost of about RM 3.5 million was approved. This complex consisted of an administrative block, lecture rooms , an armory , a vehicle yard, security posts and a huge parade square. The construction was completed in February 1998 and the transfer from Damansara camp was completed in July 11th 1998.
On November 24th 1998 the complex was officially opened by the Minister Of Defense, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Bin Syed Jaafar Albar and witnessed by the Chief Of Army, the Chief Of Navy, the Chief Of Air Force and the Vice Chancellor . During that ceremony the minister planted a ‘penaga tree’ in the front of the administration block, launched the ROTU UM webpage and officiated a seminar entitled ‘ROTU towards a new area’.