Rela members to take short course before Esszone duty


PETALING JAYA: The People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel assigned to the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) duty next year will undergo a short course, a top security official said.

Speaking during an interview aired on TV3 yesterday evening, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander DCP Hazani Ghazali said Rela personnel would have to prepare themselves for the new duty.

“The Rela personnel will carry out their normal duty and be the ears and eyes of the security authorities,” he said.

“But they will have to get themselves ready for duty in terms of self-defence and so on, although they will not be involved in combat operations.

“So, Rela members involved in Esscom duty starting from 2018 will take a short course at the end of this year and beginning of next year to prepare them for this new responsibility.

“Esscom and other agencies such as the Special Branch will expose them to what they can and should do.”

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi earlier this month said a pioneer batch of 500 Rela members would be deployed to assist in monitoring the security in Esszone from January 2018.

In September, Zahid, who is also home minister, said the government agreed to mobilise 6,148 Rela members to assist in monitoring the security in 10 districts in Esszone.

“We thank Prime Minister Najib for his idea of contributing Rela members to security efforts in Esszone,” said Hazani.

“We always welcome ideas to boost security in the east coast of Sabah.”

Esscom was formed in April 2013 following the intrusion into Lahad Datu by armed militants sent by the self-proclaimed Sultanate of Sulu in southern Philippines to stake their so-called territorial claim on Sabah.

It is responsible for security in the Esszone which covers some 1,400km of coastline, the waters off it and also over land.

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