Perkasa’s Briged Setia Negara not part of Rela, DG asserts

The People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) director general Zaidon Asmuni today denied the notion that Perkasa’s Briged Setia Negara is a formal Rela subgroup and claimed it only exists under Perkasa’s interpretation.

He said Perkasa members who also enrol in Rela, are free to associate themselves as a group which does not reflect on their formal roles in Rela.

“For instance, the Rela members in Malaysiakini might form  a group but they cannot claim they are ‘Malaysiakini Rela’,” he said by way of example.

“When you talk about Rela, there is only one Rela,” he added.

“The Briged Setia Negara only exists in Perkasa’s interpretation,” he averred.

However, he said the Perkasa members will not be penalised for using Rela’s name in their subgroup as they have “freedom of association”.

He said Rela classifies its members based on their identification card numbers and addresses.

“There won’t be a platoon whose members come completely from Perkasa. They will be placed differently based on different addresses,” he said.

Zaidon however was coy on whether the existence of “Briged Setia Negara” has been sanctioned by the Home Ministry as claimed by Perkasa coordinator, Zainuddin Salleh.

“As an organisation formed under the Home Ministry, every Rela member essentially belongs to Home Ministry,” he said.

Two days ago, Komunitikini scooped the story that the Malay rights pressure group has established a subgroup within Rela known as “Briged Setia Negara” exclusively for its members.

Using Rela to establish a private para-military group

A joint-recruitment banner for Perkasa and Rela also appeared in the Petaling Perdana district, with the contact numbers of the Perkasa members in charge.

Yesterday, Selangor Perkasa chief Abdullah Mansor said that the brigade targets 100,000 members by year-end, and its membership is open to all, contradicting what his Perkasa comrade Zainuddin Salleh had revealed to Komunitikini.

Human rights activist, K. Shan, thinks Perkasa might be recruiting Rela members for its brigade.

He opined that Perkasa would not be able to mobilise within Rela to further its agenda because Rela officers must declare anything they do to the Home Ministry.

“Any activity under Rela goes through the Home Ministry; those who organise recruitment for Rela [theoretically] do not have claim or control over the person they recruit [for Rela].

“Hence, I don’t think they are trying to establish a brigade under Rela, they are just using the process of Rela recruitment to setup their own security force,” he added.

Abolish Rela, which is used and abused

Lawyer Charles Hector, on the other hand, has called for the abolition of Rela.

He said the group, created under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1964, must be disbanded as it is no longer relevant.

He said the role of Rela can be undertaken by other organisations such as police volunteers, fire department volunteers and the neighbourhood watch (Rukun Tetangga).

Hector (left) said it is hard to criticise Perkasa for using Rela for its own agenda because “everyone uses Rela”.

“Many high-ranking officers in Rela are either politicians or menteri besar. Of course, for their events, they will call Rela to come [to provide security].

“Even Pakatan uses Rela,” he claimed.