SEA Games Group A: Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei and Laos
The 2009 and 2011 winners have once again set their sights on the gold medal, considering the Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia failed to land the top prize when they last played hosts in 2001 but did so in 1977 and 1989.
Head coach Ong Kim Swee had previous lamented the lack of preparation time but the squad's confidence received a massive boost after qualifying for the AFC Under-23 Championship for the first time in July, topping a group that included SEA Games rivals Thailand and Indonesia.
The Coach: Ong Kim Swee
Having been demoted from the senior squad, Ong replaced German Frank Bernhardt in March and this year's edition may bring a sense of redemption for the former Harimau Muda coach.
Ong led Malaysia to the Games gold medal in 2011 but failed to achieve similar heights in 2013 and 2015. Malaysia even failed to reach the knock-out stages last time out.
Key player(s) to watch: Adam Nor Azlin, Syamer Kutty Abba and Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik
Many in the region will already be aware of Amirul Hisyam and Adam because of their involvement in the previous Games and occasional appearance with the national team.
Both players need to be at their best and offer guidance to the rest of the squad. Adam and Amirul are also starters with Selangor and Kedah respectively in the Malaysia Super League.
Syamer, however, could be the surprise package.
Highly rated by Ong and his coaching staff, Syamer is expected to play in the heart of midfield. He was not included in the AFC Under-23 qualifiers because Penang did not release him.
Malaysia have slid down the ranks in recent times, meaning Thailand, Vietnam and even Myanmar will start as favourites ahead of the hosts.
Yet the crowd factor could carry the squad on.
Nothing less than a place in the last-four will suffice as only Myanmar should really be giving Adam and co problems in the round-robin.
If Malaysia can avoid Thailand until the final, at least a silver could be on the cards.