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22 May 2024

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bar Council wants Rela disbanded, police prioritised

The Bar Council has recommended that the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) be dissolved so that its financial resources can be transferred to the police force to strengthen the men in blue.

Bar Council chairperson Lim Chee Wee opined it is timely for the government to reconsider the relevance of Rela after the Emergency Ordinance was repealed in December last year.

NONE“Currently there are three million Rela members out of 27 million Malaysians, which means one out of ten Malaysians (are involved in the corps). The number is just too big,” he told reporters after a forum at the Bar Council headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Lim compounding the issue is the new initiative under the National Key Results Areas (NKRA) to allow Rela members to wear police uniforms with Rela badges.

“Why do we need to enhance Rela’s power when they are not even an enforcing body?

“The ordinary citizens on the street would not be able to differentiate between a real police and a (volunteer) ‘police’ with Rela badge. The policy itself presents more problems than solutions,” he said.

Lim (above) urged the government to dissolve Rela, the Civil Defence Department (JPAM) and Rukun Tetangga (residents’ watch groups) when the legitimacy of these bodies expire in June.

Rela ‘illegal’ 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laws which were put in place under the Emergency Ordinance are deemed to cease six months after the ordinance is repealed.

NONEDeputy Home Minister Lee Chee Leong has recently said that a new law governing Rela will be tabled in the next parliament session.

The Bar Council’s human rights committee chairperson Andrew Khoo (left) however warned that the new law must be passed by June 30.

“If the government cannot pass the new law by June 30, Rela will be an illegal body,” he said.

Khoo and Lim both reiterated that instead, priority should be given to the police and that the voluntarily corps should instead be reassigned to community-based patrolling.

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