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Musa comes to defence of Rela
Published on: Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tuaran: Tan Sri Musa Aman said every member of the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) has an important role and contribution to Sabah's security and the well-being of the people.

"It is, therefore, unfair to belittle the credibility and ability of Rela which has become a force to be reckoned with.

"As the Chief Minister, as leaders, we never belittled or even underestimate Rela's contribution," he said at the launching of Rela duties in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone ceremony, here, Saturday.

"This is not our way, it's not our culture to insult others. For me, no matter how big or small, every Rela member has an important role and contribution to Sabah's security.

"He (opposition leader) said that Rela did not know how to use rifles, bombs and in fact all they knew was to direct road traffic and do guard duty at kenduri kahwin (marriage reception parties).

"Do not insult, despise or underestimate…there are times when Rela members looked after us, helped us, so I advise this opposition leader not to be arrogant and proud," he said in his speech, which drew claps and cheers from an audience of mainly Rela members of various ranks including Rela Director-General Datuk Zulkifli Abidin.

Musa said that when Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi asked if the State Government could contribute a little to Rela to buy uniforms and equipments, he (Musa) gave his consent.

"The State Government agreed to provide RM6 million to Rela to buy uniform and equipment because we acknowledge and appreciate Rela's role and services.

"Believe that Barisan Nasional government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak assisted by Deputy Prime Minister and the State Government under my leadership, will always appreciate and respect Rela's contribution," he said.

Police reports have been lodged by Rela members across the country against Parti Warisan Sabah President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal for purportedly making an offensive statement towards Rela.

It was reported that the former Federal minister allegedly questioned Rela's capability, specifically in the handling of weapons, as well as saying that Rela members who assisted in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) will be voting via post.

On another note, Musa said the deployment of 504 Rela members from the Volunteer Department to the Esszone is a high recognition by government to Rela's credibility and ability to assist in monitoring the security in the area with other security enforcement agencies and departments.

"I am confident, with their high spirit, training and guidance from the police, army and the Eastern Sabah Security Command, I believe Rela will be able to conduct duties more efficiently and effectively."

He said he has also given his consent to the Deputy Prime Minister for the setting up of a Rela training centre in Sandakan.

"I have given orders to the Land and Survey Department Director to make preparations to allocate a site for Rela to use as a training centre.

"This is also good for Sabah, we already have one in the west coast and I believe with the existence of training centre in Sandakan, it would be more cost effective and easier for Rela in the east coast," he said.

On when the centre will be set up and how huge the site will be, he said it depends on Rela.

"Perhaps if there is need it will be 50 acres, we are ready to add if needed, this shows that we have and will always be appreciative of Rela and their services," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had in September last year stated that more than 120,000 Rela members would be stationed at Esszone in phases, starting with 500.

Deputy Home Minister Masir Kujat and other dignitaries were present at the launch ceremony.

About 1,000 Rela members attended the ceremony, many of whom cheered Musa during his criticism of the former Umno vice-president.

Rela Director-General Zulkifli Abidin urged Rela members to prove their sincerity in carrying out their duty.

"What's wrong with doing guard and road traffic duty if it's for the sake of the people?

There's no need to insult us. I urge all Rela members to prove the allegations wrong.

Even in the face of danger and against the enemies, Rela will not falter. We'll keep giving our service with utmost loyalty."

A total of 504 Rela members were deployed to 21 locations in the Esszone to assist in patrolling and channelling information linked to security since Jan 1, this year.

Their duties does not require them to be in the forefront or in police or military tactical operations. - Sherell Jeffrey

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