Five Power Defence Arrangements

Singapore Infopedia

by Tan, Gabriel


The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) are a series of ongoing defence agreements between Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. First signed in 1971,1 the underlying rationale for the arrangements was that the defence of Singapore and Malaysia remained indivisible, and that the two countries still faced common potential threats in the region.2

In the early 1970s, the withdrawal of British troops from the region raised concerns that this would leave a defence gap that could be exploited by a hostile power. The solution sought was to give a deterrent message that any attack on Singapore or Malaysia would be successfully repelled with the assistance of British, Australian and New Zealand forces.3 The arrangements were facilitated by the 1970 election of the British conservative government, which decided to retain a reduced military presence in Singapore. From 1971, a residual force of Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom troops with a strength of around 7,000 remained in Singapore under bilateral arrangements. However, Australia pulled out its infantry battalions in 1974, the remaining British troops left in 1976 and New Zealand withdrew its last battalion in 1989.4

Singapore attaches great importance to the FPDA whereby the five nations collaborate on defence issues, notably through joint exercises. Although Singapore’s defence capabilities have advanced substantially since the 1970s, cooperation within the FPDA is still very much treasured by Singapore and the other members.5

As the world’s second-oldest military partnership, the FPDA continues to maintain regional stability in the region. In 2016, Britain revealed plans to increase the number of deployed troops, warships and warplanes throughout the nations in the region.6


Gabriel Tan

1. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (1971). Five Power Defence Agreement (Australian Treaty Series 1971, no. 21). Retrieved 2016, September 30 from Australian Legal Information Institute website:
2. Huxley, T. (2000). Defending the Lion City: The armed forces of Singapore. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, p. 37. (Call no.: RSING 355.3095957 HUX)
3. Chiang, M. (1990). Fighting fit: The Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 204. (Call no.: RSING 355.0095957 CHI)
4. Huxley, T. (2000). Defending the Lion City: The armed forces of Singapore. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, pp. 37–38. (Call no.: RSING 355.3095957 HUX)
5. Chiang, M. (1990). Fighting fit: The Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 205. (Call no.: RSING 355.0095957 CHI)
6. Chow, J. (2016, June 4). Five Power Defence Arrangements ‘more necessary than ever’ for regional stability: UK defence chief Fallion. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website:

The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Hagemeyer Trading


Hagemeyer Trading is an international company that specialises in business-to-business products and services. It was established in 1904 by two brothers, Anton and Johan Hagemeijer, in Surabaya, Java, for the purpose of importing products into the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia). In 1973, Hagemeyer set up its Asia regional...

Lee Kong Chian


Lee Kong Chian (Dr) (b. 18 October 1893, Nan’an, Quanzhou, Fujian, China–d. 2 June 1967, Singapore), also known as Geok Kun, was a philanthropist and multi-millionaire businessman who made his mark in the rubber trade and later the pineapple, coconut oil and sawmill businesses, among others. Lee also invested large...

Lee Chiaw Meng


Lee Chiaw Meng (???) (Dr) (b. 28 February 1937, Singapore–d. 23 May 2001, Singapore) served as the member of Parliament (MP) for Farrer Park (1968–80) and then for Tanah Merah (1980–84), minister for education (1972–75) and minister for science and technology (1975–76). ...

Tan Kah Kee


Tan Kah Kee (b. 21 October 1874, Jimei, Tong’an, Quanzhou, Fujian, China–d. 12 August 1961, Beijing, China) was a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist, nicknamed the “Henry Ford of Malaya”. He contributed extensively to the financing of schools and establishment of well-planned clusters of educational institutions, both in Singapore and...

Pawnbroking in Singapore


Pawnbroking in Singapore started in the 19th century. In the past, pawnbrokers were regarded as the “poor man’s bankers”. Now their customers include white-collar workers, gamblers and businessmen, and an increasing number of younger customers. ...

Overseas Union Bank (OUB)


Overseas Union Bank (OUB), now defunct, was founded in 1947 in Singapore by Lien Ying Chow. It began operations in February 1949, and by the 1970s had grown to become one of Singapore’s “Big Four” local banks. In 2002, OUB was acquired by United Overseas Bank (UOB) for S$10 billion....

Japan–Singapore Economic Arrangement for a New Age Partnership


The Japan–Singapore Economic Arrangement for a New Age Partnership is Singapore’s first free-trade agreement (FTA) with a major trading partner and Japan’s first-ever FTA. It came into effect on 30 November 2002, and the next review of the accord is scheduled to be held after 31 December 2017....

Tan Ean Kiam


Tan Ean Kiam (???) (b. 1881, Tong’an, Xiamen, Fujian, China–d. 30 March 1943, Singapore) was a rubber magnate and banker. In addition to being the managing director of the Oversea Chinese Bank and later the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Tan made many contributions to the Chinese communities in Singapore and...

Referendum on merger with Malaysia


The referendum on merger with the Federation of Malaysia, also known as the Singapore National Referendum, was held on 1 September 1962. The idea for a referendum to be held was championed by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of the People’s Action Party (PAP). The official purpose of the...

Herman Ronald Hochstadt


Herman Ronald Hochstadt (b. 1933, Singapore–) is a former top civil servant who worked in various ministries. He was also a leader in the corporate world and subsequently Singapore’s high commissioner to a number of African countries. Hochstadt is a prominent figure in the Eurasian community and the patron of...