There fear is that many of the legalised illegals have joined Rela and putting them in police uniforms will further aggravate security problems.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) described the proposal as “dubious”, saying it would have a ‘far-reaching’ impact on Sabah which is already grappling with thousands of legalised illegal immigrants.
The party’s information chief Chong Pit Fah claimed that if implemented, such a move would create more problems rather than help the security forces like the police to maintain law and order.
Chong said this was in view of the presence of a great number of ‘dubious citizens’ who are originally illegal immigrants from the neighbouring countries, who now have obtained their Malaysian citizenship through the infamous “Project IC” and through false statutory declaration.
He claimed to have reliably learnt that many of them had joined Rela.
“What will happen if this group of bogus citizens-turned-Rela members decline to apprehend illegal immigrants and start harassing the locals instead?”
“Do we want these people to harass the locals in the near future? Only mindless leaders would allow this to happen,” he pointed out.
Chong was responding to the Home Ministry’s plan to table a new law governing Rela at the next session of the Dewan Rakyat, which among others, would allow Rela members to wear police uniforms with Rela badges.
Deputy Home Minister Lee Chee Leong had told reporters in Alor Setar that the ministry was still discussing the matter with the attorney-general. Rela was established under the Emergency Ordinance which has since been repealed.
Lee said there are almost three million Rela members throughout the country.
Get priorities right
Chong feared that this might cause confusion among the general public, citing that it would be difficult for them to differentiate between a police personnel and a Rela member wearing police uniforms.
He stressed that the federal government should get its priorities right.
He urged the government to expedite the setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the perennial issue of the continuous presence of a huge number of illegal immigrants in the state and its related issues such as the ‘Project IC’ and ‘dubious citizens’ issues.
Chong, who is also SAPP Kepayan CLC chairman, also endorsed the Bar Council’s recommendation, recommending for the dissolution of Rela, so that the government’s financial resources can be better utilise to strengthen the police force.
He added that it was timely for the government to reconsider the relevance of Rela after the Emergency Ordinance was repealed in December last year.
He said there was no need to enhance Rela’s power when they are not even an enforcing body.
He also concurred with the Bar Council’s human rights committee chairperson Andrew Khoo’s statement that the federal government should disband Rela, as it would be deemed an illegal body after June 30.
“Under Article 150 of federal constitution, laws which were put in place under the Emergency Ordinance are deemed to cease six months after the ordinance is repealed,” Khoo had pointed out.