Monday, September 27

Scrutiny required on issuing firearms to Rela members — Lee

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SIBU: The government has to be given time to thoroughly consider the proposal to supply one firearm for every five Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) members nationwide.

Expressing his view yesterday, exco member of MCPF Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said this was to ensure all angles are covered.

“I am not indicating anything. My view is that it is up to the government to make a thorough study, taking into account the implications.

“Since Rela is expected to play a bigger role in assisting the police in line with the Blue Ocean strategy, I think it is best to give time to the government to consider this thoroughly before coming up with a decision,” Lee told The Borneo Post.

When winding up the debate on the Corrosive And Explosive Substances And Offensive Weapons (Amendment) 2013 Bill, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had said the government would study the proposal to supply one firearm for every five Rela members nationwide.

Wan Junaidi reportedly added that a detailed study, especially in terms of suitability and the government’s need and capacity to supply arms to the big number of Rela members, needed to be done.

Lee added that the suitability of Rela being armed, apart from safety and security matters ought to be assessed. With Rela members numbering about three million nationwide, the government had to take into consideration the affordability factor, he said.

“Then, what about other law enforcement agencies? They may also be asking for firearms.

“If there are too many firearms around, I think it is something that has to be considered very carefully from the point of safety and security,” he said.

He noted that enforcement agencies when conducting operations could get police assistance.