Will recruitment of Rela personnel to help police to keep streets safe be a cure which is worse than the disease if Rela personnel are not sensitized about the importance of human rights?

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the best from the civil Defence Department and Rela have been enlisted to help police keep the streets safer and that 254 – 115 from the Civil Defence and 139 from Rela – had been shortlisted from 1,000 applicants last week.

The recruitment of Rela personnel to help police to keep streets safe raises public fear whether Rela human rights abuses against immigrants will now extend to ordinary Malaysians.

Rela human rights abuses have become so notorious not only locally but also internationally that human rights organizations local and abroad have called for Rela’s disbandment.

The Malaysian Bar for instance had at its annual general meeting in 2007 unanimously called for Rela’s disbandment as it had attracted much public outcry over maltreatment of migrants with allegations of torture and even the causing of death by volunteer RELA personnel who receive payment of RM80-00 for each undocumented migrant they managed to catch.

Internationally, the Human Rights Watch had also called for the immediate dissolution of Rela for being responsible for numerous cases of illegal detentions, unlawful use of force and extortion.

The almost half a million Rela volunteers authorized by the government to help maintain public order, primarily through the apprehension of undocumented migrant workers have often been in the eye of public storm and outrage because of their unnecessary use of force and illegal policing practices.

Allegations against Rela abuses can be summed up thus – fully uniformed, armed, and unaccompanied by police or immigration officers, they break into migrant lodgings in the middle of the night without warrants, brutalize inhabitants, extort money, and confiscate cell phones, clothing, jewelry, and household goods, before handcuffing migrants and transporting them to detention camps for “illegal immigrants.”

Hishammuddin’s reference to “the best from Rela’” being enlisted to help police keep the streets safe does not inspire confidence as by the “best”, Hishammuddin does not mean their having the necessary mindset of being sensitive to the human rights of Malaysians.

Today’s Star explained what Hishammuddin meant by enlisting the “best” from Rela, as Rela director-general Datuk Zaidon Asmuni revealed that police have rejected more than two-thirds of the 500 personnel offered by Rela to assist in crime prevention after most were found to be overweight and unfit to undergo Police voluntary reserve training.

Zaidon said that only 142 out of the 500 were chosen to undergo the two-week training stint while the rest were rejected due to poor fitness.

But have these Rela personnel been given the proper training so to have the requisite mindset and grounding not only to keep the streets safe from crime but protect the residents from human rights violations?

The unending catalogue of deaths in police, immigration and even MACC custody like Teoh Beng Hock, A. Kugan and R Gunasegaran raises grave question about the failure of the authorities to sensitise all police and enforcement agencies and personnel about the paramount importance of their role to respect and protect human rights.

Although the Prime Minisiter, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has announced the reduction of the street crime rate by 20 per cent in the next 18 months as the first of his six National Key Result Areas (KRAs), Hishammuddin seems to have totally ignored the critical importance of concepts of democratic and community policing which is the only surety that the authorities have not come up with a cure which is worse than the disease with the recruitment of Rela personnel to help the police to keep the streets safe from crime.

  1. #1 by OrangRojak on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 1:27 pm

    I really think vigilantes and lynch mobs could affect the crime figures. Soon Malaysians will be so scared to go out on the streets, there will be no victims available! This is truly ‘thinking out of the box’.

  2. #2 by SpeakUp on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 1:49 pm

    RELA are run by and managed by INCOMPETENT people. I have used their services before many times, its so so stupid.

    They are not properly trained to even manage a crowd for events etc. They all feel so powerful, blowing whistles to shoo people. Like this how to understand the powers of arrest, search, prevention of crime?

    RELA is worse than school police cadets. That is my experience.

  3. #3 by dawsheng on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 2:45 pm

    I cannot understand why PDRM have to enlist RELA to help keep our streets safe from criminals. Does it mean that the PDRM is a redundant force, if so why? Will RELA’s notorious reputation helps restore public confident in our security force? Any logical possibilities derived from such a decision only point to greater conflicts in the war against criminals, the consequences of this inappropriate action will caused a security disaster of tragic magnitude where more innocent public fall victim to criminals, and subject to abuse of power by the PDRM and RELA.

  4. #4 by SENGLANG on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 2:56 pm

    Rela is half cook and always abusing their power to the fullest. They are worst bunch than the police

  5. #5 by SENGLANG on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 2:58 pm

    I have once encounter with rela member. The one was a young like school children was very arrogant. never trust this people as they did not know much about the law and once on the filed they think they are king and easily abuse the power. God save us if rela is being recruited.

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 3:11 pm

    The horrendous crime statistic in Malaysia itself is evident that the PDRM had failed in their primary function, enlisting another organization with equally disastrous prerequisite is a mockery of security policy, and to ridicule the public. If Hishammuddin is serious about reducing crime rate, all he has to do is to act without fear or favour and look into the implementation of IPCMC. The ten points rejection of IPCMC given the PDRM are nothing but pure lame excuses of a bad performer.


  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 4:25 pm

    You read that they selected a few hundred from more than 1000 applicants for this. I don’t know about you, but the odds of them weeding out all the bad apples is near zero actually.

    Those who understand statistics and probability will understand this. This is why we are just really really crappy with crime when we all the decision are made up top but they don’t understand these stuff..

  8. #8 by Callum on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 9:14 pm

    From the voting result, 97% of people felt Malaysia is very unsafe. On the recent TBH case, what has police done on the investigation ? The government did’t realized that the country is at stake now. It is not the racial problem, it is indeed the country is really sick now. The government now are good in catching loan shark, catching prirated CD/DVD, good in catching illegal hawkers. These people shows no threat to the society, and yet focus on the wrong priority.

    The BN government is talking about increasing the number of police to battle the crimes. My question is, will “quantity” works than “quality” ? Go see what and how Singpapore is managing their country. See the crime rate published by some bloggers, Malaysia is really really sick now.

  9. #9 by Onlooker Politics on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 10:51 pm

    Hishammuddin plans to recruit of Rela personnel to help police to keep streets safe???

    I think he must be joking.

    I know many Rela leaders themselves are the employer of illegal workers. How do we expect an immigration law offender to help enforce the immigration law or criminal law in order to bring peace to our society?

    A businesswoman from mainland China who operated a small business in Kuala Lumpur used to disclose to me that a Chinese Malaysian Rela officer located in Cheras was at one time trying to approach her and threaten to arrest her unless she could offer sex service to the Rela officer. Do you want to trust Rela as a security keeping officer? What will happen to the ever-escalating crime rate if the Rela Officer is given a handgun in order to enable him to force a weak girl into his exploitation and give in to his intimidation?

  10. #10 by shortie kiasu on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 6:37 pm

    The job of security and crime prevention in Malaysia should squarely lie on the Police Force.

    The Police should focus on their primary duty to the people and the country rather than thinking of ways to shirk their primary duty.

    Looking at all the nonsensical proposals by the ministry and the police, it looks very real that the Police Force has totally lost their focus, and they are wandering at the expense of the security and safety of the people in the country.

    Why waste time to recruit Rela to help them to their job? If Rela can do the job of the Police in crime prevention and catching the crooks, then disband the Police.

  11. #11 by Rela Selangor on Thursday, 20 August 2009 - 1:04 pm

    The Main reason public dislike about Rela because of scared with their ability which can be similar as Army task.May be due to the recruitment side of Rela member’s need to more strengthen on the candidates background , educational level , give proper Management training , etc. Rela are not so bad as everyone think, when they been instructed by the government to sent back all the illegal Immigrant ( Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin ) PATI , they have to follow the instruction and some times have to be little hard with the PATI when they refuse to follow Rela’s instruction.They are people outside there are not really happy with rela, it is not because of Rela Behave Rudely or Hard with public , The thing is there are sudden people like Bosses , Employer , Restoran Owner , Construction Bosses who having illegal workers been taken away by this Rela … And their business get effected. So no point blaming Rela For this ,The only things The government or the Agency need to do is groom the Rela Personnel and give proper Training and let them Follow Polis Personnel to learn more about how to maintain the Peace , how to behave in Public ,and lot’s more.We as a Malaysian don’t make our own Brother’s and sisters in POLIS, RELA force image get damage.Positive Comments is always welcomed by the government and the public. So don’t make the make in trouble , encourage them to work hard and give support to them to grow together with the public.

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