RELA – PM Najib’s final line of defence?

Mohd Arshad Raji
Retirerd army officer

PM Najib says that there are 2.8 million RELA (Paramilitary People’s Volunteer Corps) in the country (Malaysia Chronicles, Saturday 28 Jan). That is a much bloated figure that far outmatched the collective strength of the Armed Forces and the Police put together. From my reading, there are only 500,000 odd Rela members.

Now, how and where did PM Najib pluck this number from? Does he not know what it takes to maintain such a large force? I think this figure even doubles that of the Indian Army. If indeed there are 2.8 million RELA members, then we don’t really need the Armed Forces and the Police…….. Just disband them and let the RELA take over the defence and security of the country. And with that kind of number, there wouldn’t be any more thieves, murderers and illegals in this country. Everything will be safe and sound, and it may cause some concern to all the neighbouring regional states.

And what really scares me was when PM Najib said that “when the chips are down, RELA will be with this government to defend the country”. What ‘chips’ is he referring to, and what is the threat that the government is trying to defend……external or internal security threat or a political threat from the opposition.

Please PM Najib, be wary with the kind of words and language used. What you have said can be interpreted to mean many things, and to people like me that had served 34 years in the military, I take it to mean that RELA would be your ‘final line of defence’; I suppose to be deployed to defend the country when both the Armed Forces and the police have lost their battle. And do you seriously think that when the Armed Forces and the police have been defeated, RELA can take over the defence and security of the country? I have serious doubts.

Now, there is already a move by the Home Minister Hishamuddin to arm the RELA. Yes, arming them may frighten Abu, Ah Kow and Muthu, but this will not frightened an enemy’s military force. It has taken years to build an Armed Forces and the Police with some credibility, and there is no way that RELA can be credible by just arming them to be trained once a week in basic weapon handling.

Defence and security training is not just about weapon training. PM Najib knows this very well for he was a long serving Defence Minister. And if someone were to ask me whether our Armed Forces and the Police today are well equipped and trained to defend this country against an external threat, my answer is one of skepticism. And if my answer is to be believed, then it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the Armed Forces and the Police attains an appropriate level of ‘force credibility’ as a matter of urgency.

I think there is now a lot of confusion about the roles of RELA, made worse by the statement of PM Najib. I think RELA started as an unarmed paramilitary civil volunteer corps that predates to the time when the government was saddled with the influx of illegal immigrants. It was never meant to be a force involved in defence and security because they are not organized and structured as such. Rather they are to work alongside all other security enforcement agencies, to assist them in dealing with security and social issues arising from the mass influx of illegal immigrants.

My stand on this issue is that the roles and tasks of the RELA should not replicate that of the Armed Forces and the Police. They should remain subservient force to assist, rather than being involved with defence and security per se.

In restructuring the RELA and boosting them the extra allowances, I hope the government does not have a hidden political agenda, especially one that is connected to the upcoming elections. Let me be honest and straight with the aforesaid statement. I will agree that RELA should be given an increase in their allowances that has been meager in the past, but I will certainly have my reservations if their roles and tasks are to be changed.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 29 January 2012 - 10:22 pm

    Honestly, Najib has completely lost his marbles. Its as simple as that. To put a bunch of amateurs in charge of civil disobedience? EVEN if its only about getting Rela members to vote and help get vote for UMNO/BN and he will not really deploy, its still reckless.

    Its clear sign Najib and top leaders of UMNO/BN are losing their minds worrying about the consequences of their fall from power.

  2. #2 by Jong on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 12:31 am

    …“when the chips are down, RELA will be with this government to defend the country”

    This is most disturbing, against who? – I take this as the PM’s direct challenge against the Malaysian people who wants a change of Government and dares vote against Umno/BN in coming GE-13?

    Did this chief of Umno samsengs mean “2.8 million illegals” they want absorbed into Rela? Now we know why they had been reluctant to disband this bunch of corrupts, while Home Minister Krishamuddin Hussein Onn even suggests plans to arm Rela!

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 12:49 am

    Do Rela kaki cast POSTAL VOTES?
    2.8 million votes 4 UmnoB/BN, VERY GOOD 1

  4. #4 by monsterball on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 1:01 am

    His chips is falling from his pockets with holes.
    He is confused…sad and cannot count properly.
    He has turned to be a dreamer in wonderland.
    500,000 actual figure bloated up to 2.8 million.
    Is he hinting there are 2.3 million ghost riders created by him?

  5. #5 by monsterball on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 1:12 am

    When you are aware of all his tricks…the n the extra 2.3 million will not materialized.. out of thin air.
    People Power will make sure this rascal don’t step out of line and upset the whole country.
    He can talk as much nonsense as he likes…to fool Malaysians..but if he dares the real figure with ghost riders…and all are voters…he us asking for big big trouble….that cannot be controlled.
    He wants TRAITORS against PATRIOTS to battle …like in all the Middle East protect him and the little napoleons….then he needs to see the final results of all those Middle East countries.
    His dirty politics must not exceed the limit.
    No Malaysians fear him at all.

  6. #6 by k1980 on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 8:33 am

    Jib should replace rela with his personal Sturm Abteilung (SA)

  7. #7 by Bigjoe on Monday, 30 January 2012 - 9:20 am

    Hey? Since Najib threw the 2.8m Rela member out there. shouldn’t the member list be audited against the Electoral Roll? In fact it should be part of electoral reform..

  8. #8 by ctzen on Thursday, 2 February 2012 - 1:29 am

    The West Coast Highway which is to go for RM7b for only some 300 km is another example on a bigger scale. Granted we can’t stop this, why couldn’t the 500,000 rela members be gainfully employed in such activities?

    Much more is being wasted via other corrupt cases, practices bad governance.

    We could do so much for even good healthcare, free university education and better skills training, we’d be the envy of those Singas in the Zoo south of the border!

    Those UMNO muslims betul-betul murtad lah!

  9. #9 by cemerlang on Thursday, 2 February 2012 - 4:45 pm

    RELA is supposed to help during natural disasters and their main mission is towards peace. It looks like a curfew when these RELA people start going round. This is also making the local population uneasy. Why do you need to employ the soldiers and the police and waste away the country’s money ? You talk about transformation. Then transformation it is. Why are you scared when there is transformation ?

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