The Malaysian Defenders Front Association (Malay: Depan Pertahanan Persatuan Malaysia) or the MDFA is a non-profit vigilante and gun advocacy organization that encourages rifle marksmanship for Malaysians for the defense and safety of the state.
Its founder and owner, Hassanal Hamid, a veteran of the Malaysian Armed Forces found the organization in the wakes of several attacks by Islamic insurgents from southern Thailand and southern Philippines.
Its members aim to "fight for the country's safety without uniform", often aiding Malaysian police and army units track down and fight Islamic insurgents from southern Thailand and southern Philippines.
Its headquarters are located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and many of its members are a mix of native Malaysians and overseas Filipinos living legally in Malaysia as citizens.
The MDFA was found in 2008 after a series of skirmishes between Malaysian soldiers and Islamic rebels from Mindanao in the island of Sabah. Hassanal Hamid, a veteran of the Malaysian Armed Forces (originally from Putrajaya) was a victim of the attacks. He was captured by militants and was going to be taken hostage to Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago, until he stabbed one of the militants and took his gun.
Hassanal Hamid was arrested by Malaysian police for carrying an un-registered weapon and was suspected of being a terrorist. He was however, later acquitted of these charges after villagers in Sabah recognized him and pleaded for his release.
Hamid shortly afterwards began to file for a firearms license, took gun classes and bought firearms for himself to protect his family from future militants. Hamid eventually met with other Malaysian gun owners, as well as victims of Islamic militants from southern Thailand and they discussed the need for Malaysian citizens for the Right to Bear Arms.
Hamid eventually operated and worked at a shooting club in Putrajaya and bought several other shooting ranges. He eventually settled in Kota Kinabalu and announced the formation of a vigilante group. Among agreements with his colleagues, it was named the Malaysian Defenders Front Association.
In addition to its Malay members, the group also started to attract Filipinos legally living as Malaysian citizens. A 2013 estimated stated that 34% of the organization's members are Filipinos living in Malaysia. In fact, its vice president Bantilan Assad, an ethnic Tausug (known as Suluks in Malaysia) was born to migrants from the Zamboanga Peninsula that legally migrated to Malaysia. Filipinos also work as firearms instructors for the MDFA, stating that shooting is part of Filipino heritage.