Sabah appreciates Rela's role in ESSZone with RM6m boost

TUARAN: The Sabah People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) stationed in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) has received a RM6 million booster shot in the arm to facilitate its operations at the security zone.

Rela personnel have been deployed at ESSZone since Jan 1.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the RM6 million was in appreciation of Rela's role and varied contributions.

"The state government is pleased to give this contribution so that Rela personnel can buy uniforms and other equipment to facilitate their operations in ESSZone," he told reporters at the Sabah Rela Training Centre here today.

A total of 504 Rela personnel have been deployed in ESSZone to complement other security agencies in the region.

Musa also announced the construction of a Rela training centre in Sandakan on an area of about 20 hectares to facilitate its personnel in Sabah's east coast to undergo training.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister expressed regret over a recent statement by an opposition party leader who allegedly belittled Rela's role and contributions.

"This is not our way, not our culture to belittle other people, especially Rela personnel. For me, no matter how small or big the Rela contribution is, we still appreciate their role in maintaining public order," he said.

On Jan 15, in a video which went viral on social media, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who was delivering a speech at the 'Bicara Presiden Warisan' programme in the district had allegedly questioned the purpose of deploying Rela personnel in ESSZone, when they did not know how to handle firearms.

On his part, Rela director-general Zulkifli Abidin said Mohd Shafie had made the statement without obtaining in-depth information on Rela deployment in ESSZone.

"Rela's deployment in ESSZone involves conducting a 24-hour community patrol and will not be deployed in border areas.

"The task (in ESSZone) does not require the use of firearms but do not belittle and insult us if you don't like us," he said, adding that the 504 Rela personnel stationed in the security zone since Jan 1 were capable of bringing about positive impact to efforts in reducing the crime rate and smuggling activities at border areas.

Zulkifli said Rela personnel selected for deployment in ESSZone had also attended special courses, including handling firearms. — Bernama