The verbal stoush reported in Malaysiakini between the Indonesian Enbassy and the Director of Rela Zaidon Asmuni, reminds us again of the danger of Rela, a private army for some UMNO warlords.
Please read my earlier posts:
(1) Rela-gate! Do we have Warlords?
(2) Rela-gate - we want some answers!
(3) Warlords & their goons
(4) Home Ministry sets Rela hounds on traders!
(5) Malaysia - Rise of the Warlords
In the last, I wrote:
Then, just when we thought that nothing could get any worse, we have a malaysiakini article telling us that the government intends to make RELA, the People Volunteer Corps, into a full fledged enforcement department soon.
Well-known NGO Aliran is against this government plan, and suggested the government should instead limit RELA to disaster relief work. It spokesperson said:
“Aliran contends that legitimising Rela to become a permanent feature of our security apparatus is superfluous and tantamount to condoning the continuing violations of human rights in the country, regardless of the status of the victims.”
On a similar note, Amnesty International Malaysia criticised the government’s move because it would further legitimise and strengthen RELA’s powers to arbitrarily arrest, search and detain individuals. At present, RELA already has wide and discretionary powers where they can stop any person, enter any premises and make arrests without any warrants.
Worse, such powers also do not come with an oversight mechanism and thus were subject to abuse. Yes, frighteningly, we also know that RELA members are not trained like the police (I suppose one could then argue what’s the difference?) yet exercise far greater powers of intervention, arrest and detaining.
RELA members are already notorious for their abuse of powers.
In a Malaysiakini linked Reuter report titled Volunteer security force defies critics in Malaysia, it read (badly for us):
Rela's crackdown [on foreign workers] is winning support from Malaysians, who routinely blame foreigners for rising crime rates, which could emerge as a major issue in a general election widely expected to be called within months.
With Malaysians reluctant to take up menial jobs, there are nearly 3 million foreigners -- chiefly from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal -- working in Malaysia, some illegally.
Well done, Malaysians, we who have been and are reluctant to take up menial jobs, have been responsible for the appalling state of affairs which now sees 3 million foreign workers in our country while we have considerable percentage of unemployed, and the growth of a dangerous private army, Rela! It's a worse form of Mat Rempits because it is sanctified by the authority.
While I can understand the need for maids for a working couple, and some workers in the plantation industry or even construction work, I cannot those who are hawking for their Malaysian towkays.
Nothing riles me more than to see a foreign worker (usually Bangladeshis) frying koay teow for Chinese bosses who sit on their fat arses in coffee shops kongsamkok.
We are becoming like the hedonistic lazy Kuwaitis to these hardworking can-do Bangla-‘Palestinians’. We could one day face the same problems .... if we aren't already.