LAHAD DATU: Some 500 Rela members from the Volunteer Department will be deployed to assist in monitoring security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) from next year.
Mobilisation of the Rela members under the proposed pilot group to be absorbed as second-liners to safeguard Esszone, will become operational next month.
“We are arranging them right now, mobilisation has actually taken place and operations are expected first of January,” Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the deputy Prime Minister said here Thursday.
“The federal government has approved a special allocation to Rela, not only to procure uniforms, equipment and other assets but also in terms of operational expenditure for Rela members,” Zahid explained.
He said during the last Esszone advisory board meeting held at Esscom’s headquarters, revealed plans to engage over 6,000 Rela members from the 10 districts under Esszone for this purpose, but said re-training was needed to better equip them.
At a press conference during a working visit of the 17 Battalion, General Operations Force (PGA) here, Thursday, Zahid said they had also discussed about some actions to curb cross-border crimes as we cannot give any space to these criminals.
Earlier, Zahid and Musa Aman, the Sabah Chief Minister, heard a briefing by Hazani Ghazali, Commander of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom), and Zulkifli Abidin, the Rela director-general.
Zahid said the purpose of his visit was a follow-up on the decisions made in the two ESSCom Advisory Board meetings to ensure that security in Sabah, particularly in the ESSZone was under control.
The DPM and Musa were satisfied with the security level of areas under ESSCom.
In Sept, Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister, said the government agreed to mobilise 6,148 Rela members to assist in monitoring the security in 10 districts in ESSZone.
On another issue, Zahid confirmed that two Immigration Department officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) have been arrested over the smuggling of Bangladesh nationals.
He said the two officers were stationed at the KLIA Immigration counter.
“A number of officers are suspected to be involved in the case but so far, only two have been arrested,” he said, adding he had instructed Mustafar Ali, the Immigration director-general to tighten control at the checkpoints, especially at KLIA.
“We will replace the group (of Immigration officers) suspected to be involved in the migrants smuggling case with another group of officers.
“At the same time, we will increase the number of Immigration officers from other offices to be placed at KLIA,” he added.