Kota Kinabalu: Members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) in Sabah have more reasons to cheer as the uniformed voluntary movement turned 45 years old this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced a RM12 million additional allocation for the purchase of 40,000 new digital camouflage fatigues.
“As an additional allocation, the State Government will provide RM3 million this year and another RM3 million next year for the purpose.
“The Federal Government through the Home Ministry will match the allocation and provide RM6 million this year, making the total allocation of RM12 million.
“This means around 40,000 new Rela members would be able to get uniforms immediately,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said this after officiating the national-level 45th Rela Anniversary celebration at Padang Merdeka, here, Saturday.
Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Federal and State Ministers and Rela Director-General Datuk Zulkifli Abidin.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, also announced that a 20-acre site in Sandakan has been offered to Rela for the purpose of setting up a new training centre in the East Coast area.
“On this, we would like to say thank you to the State Government, especially the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, for the offer.
“If the allocation for the construction of the facility can be done as soon as possible, I will ensure the training centre will be built starting this year,” he said.
Towards this end, he said the Rela role would also be elevated and will take part in the border policing in the East Coast areas and assist the security agencies under the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
He said the voluntary movement once known as “home guard” would no longer have the role of keeping order during weddings and simple events, but would also be part of keeping the security of the Malaysia Borneo states intact.
“We will utilise Rela as an auxiliary force. The power of citizen arrest still rest on the police and based on the new National Security Act, arrests could also be done by the military.
“This is the reason why Rela will be elevated to assist the police and military in the execution of law and enforcement,” said Ahmad Zahid, adding that the Home Ministry would discuss with the National Security Council and they will be assigned in Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) later.
Over 8,131 out of the 10,000 Rela members across Sabah attended the celebrations here.
Ahmad Zahid earlier said that Rela is the country’s largest voluntary movement with over 3.05 million members nationwide and is viewed by neighbouring Asian countries as one of the most organised movements in the region.
The event also saw Ahmad Zahid pinning of pips on Musa, taking him to the ranks of Honorary Deputy Commissioner for the Rela movement.
The Home Minister also installed medal of honours on 10 Rela members, five of whom comprise mountain guides who assisted in the rescue operation during the deadly earthquake in Ranau in 2015 and another five who assisted the authorities during the 2013 Tanduo incursion.
Meanwhile, Musa, in his address, expressed pride for the Rela movement, saying their cooperation, commitment and contributions to the State was well noted.
“With the large members nationwide, I believe Rela played an important role and responsibility and among them, being involved in community activities, keeping the people’s commitment on progress, assisting government in strengthening unity and harmony and deploying its members in grassroots development,” he said.
Musa said the State Government will continue to support and assist Rela in executing its roles in the communities. – Jason Santos
– Daily Express