A group of RELA members protested outside the house of Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in Semporna.
KOTA KINABALU: Members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) held a peaceful protest outside Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s house in Semporna Tuesday after he allegedly belittled their work.
The group held banners urging Shafie to withdraw and apologise over his alleged remarks belittling Rela’s role and contribution to society.
In his political speeches across the state, Shafie had questioned the Federal government’s move to deploy Rela members in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) as part of strengthening security in the east coast.
Shafie had said, among others, that Rela was used only for helping control traffic at government or private functions and were not suitable as security personnel against extremist groups.
The group also posted its unhappiness on the Sabah Rela Facebook page, urging Shafie to retract his statement, which had belittled their contribution.
When contacted, Sabah Rela director Pauzi Jhumat said that he and other members of the volunteer corps were saddened by Shafie’s statement.
He said there were some 1,050 Rela personnel serving in the Esszone, of which about 380 members had worked together with police during the Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013.
“Rela was also involved in the search operations during the 2015 Mount Kinabalu earthquake,” he said, adding that they were involved in helping flood and fire victims over the years.
He said volunteers serving in the Esszone from next year would receive special training and have specific roles in supporting the security services.