‘Power to arrest, carry firearms to be taken away under new law’

KUALA LUMPUR: Members of the People Volunteers Corps (Rela) will be stripped of their power to carry firearms and arrest individuals without permit when the Malaysia Volunteers Corps (Rela) Bill 2012 is tabled for second reading at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn said this was aimed at making Rela relevant to people and current situation.

“We are very lucky to have Rela. This is an asset and should not take it for granted. There will be a new scope of work for them, such as omnipresent to reduce crime rates and participate in the Government Transformation Plan (GTP).

“With the announcement of the abolishment of Emergency Ordinance, Rela has a more strategic and important role (in national security),” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

The bill is expected to be tabled for second reading by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop before being discussed and debated by members of parliament.

It will replace the Essential (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat)(Amendment) Regulations 2005, which will be abolished on June 21, 2012, following the revocation of the 1964 Emergency Proclamation.

The bill seeks, among others, to empower the Minister to grant an honorary or associate rank to any person and to empower officers and members of Rela to control and divert motor vehicles.

It also seeks to empower the director-general to determine Rela areas and training for Rela members, as well as to issue Standing Orders for the general control, duties and training of Rela officers and members.

Hishammuddin said the bill would also function as the Standard Operating Procedure for Rela members to prevent misconduct and abuse of power.

At present, he said there were 2.94 million Rela members nationwide and the rebirth of Rela should be supported by all quarters to enable the corps to discharge its entrusted duties. — Bernama

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