Allowances for Rela members, officers raised

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Najib (centre) gestures while posing for a group photo during Rela’s 46th anniversary celebration. — Bernama photo

SERDANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday announced higher allowances for Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) volunteers and officers.

The allowance for volunteers is increased from RM6 to RM8 an hour while for officers from RM7.80 to RM9.80/hr.

He said the move would benefit more than 3.05 million Rela volunteers and officers throughout the country and was taken to appreciate their loyalty as the second line of defence of national security.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, also announced an RM20 million allocation for the purchase of digital camouflage for the Rela force, which is on top of the RM100 million allocation provided earlier.

“Just now Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (who is also Home Minister) had whispered to me that it would be good if the RM100 million allocation was increased by RM20 million.

“So at this gathering, taking into consideration your loyalty, I am increasing the allocation by RM20 million, more so because only 550,000 of the more and three million-strong Rela force own digital uniforms,” he said at Rela’s 46th anniversary celebration at Taman Ekspo Pertanian Malaysia Serdang (Maeps) here yesterday.

Najib also hinted that additional allocations were in store for Rela if the Barisan Nasional continued to receive the mandate in the 14th General Election (GE14).

Since the Rela transformation programme was started in 2012, Najib said the role of the corps now had become more challenging including becoming the second line of defence in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).

Although not at the front line together with the Royal Malaysia Police and Malaysian Armed Forces, the work of Rela was significant in ensuring security of the zone, he said.

Not only seen as facilitators at big celebrations, Najib said Rela also played a role during natural disasters like floods apart from being stationed in areas at risk of terrorist threats.

“There are times when Rela members face dangers and risky situations, are assaulted and cursed, being made fun of, but I am certain their spirit is becoming stronger,” he said.

Najib said Rela was a force that reflected a membership of the grassroots of Malaysian society and who act as they eyes and ears and hands of the government at all levels of the community.

Najib also praised Rela’s membership which comprised various ethnic groups, reflecting the 1Malaysia spirit and social cohesiveness of the Malaysian society.

Also present were Ahmad Zahid, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Home Ministry secretary general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim and Public Service director-general Tan Sri Zainal Rahim Seman. — Bernama