Keeping watch: Dr Chai says 10 Rela members have been stationed at 10 shops in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur where there were security problems in the past, including snatch thefts.
SECURITY is a major cause for concern among the public as stories of snatch thefts and house break-ins abound.
While most residential areas have gated-and-guarded security schemes, some have taken it a step further by employing Rela officers as guards.
Among such neighbourhoods is Alam Nusantara in Setia Alam that has employed Rela officers for over three months now.
Alam Nusantara Residents Association (Antara) security bureau chairman Jayafuddin Jalil said Antara had employed security firms to watch over the neighbourhood but faced numerous problems in the process.
“The guards were always asleep during duty. Residents were having problems communicating with the foreign security personnel that kept changing, while the locals were always inebriated,” he said.
He explained that he decided to employ Rela guards after spotting them in Taman Ibu Kota, Setapak.
“I spotted the guards when I went to visit my family and was impressed with the discipline they displayed while carrying out their duty,” he said.
Antara then hired them for their housing estate and residents saw the immediate changes.
Rela, said Jayafuddin, was a well organised entity while the officers showed discipline that was respected by the community at large.
“Individuals with dishonest intentions will think twice to enter a neighbourhood after seeing the Rela officers in their uniform; it is the respect the outfit commands,” he added.
Jayafuddin said the association collected RM90 each month for 24-hour security and have six guards in any one shift to man two guard posts.
At Alam Nusantara, the Rela members in uniform were seen securing the area and making rounds regularly.
There was even a banner that read “This area is under the surveillance of Rela”.
Rela officers have also become a common sight in front of KK Super Marts around the Klang Valley of late.
A memorandum of understanding was signed late last December between Rela and KK Super Marts to station the security personnel at selected stores to reduce crime.
KK Group founder and chairman Datuk Dr Chai Kee Kan said 10 Rela members had been stationed at 10 shops in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur where there were security problems in the past, including snatch thefts.
“They are also present to help the community.
“If someone was robbed in the area, the person can go to the KK Super Mart to seek help from Rela members,” he said.
KK Super Mart general manager Hooi Weng Kheong said the officers had been placed at several key areas as added security measure apart from their closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV).
“The neighbourhood also benefits and feels safe with the Rela members patrolling the area and we have seen a marked reduction in criminal activities,” said Hooi.
He pointed out that the officers were trained to catch criminals and they had a centralised emergency response team that could be dispatched to the store in case of an emergency.
He said they viewed the uniformed personnel’s presence as a mutually beneficial move.
“Rela is a voluntary service; we want people to view them as more than just traffic dispersal assistants and lend some value to their service,” he added.
Hooi said the supermarket chain planned to increase the number of stores with Rela personnel proportionately over a period of time.
Despite the increasing number of Rela officers in neighbourhoods and KK Marts, their presence was questioned since most were seen patrolling in their uniforms.
StarMetro was told the team patrolling at Alam Nusantara were asked to continue their jobs as Rela officers without the uniforms.
The guards were spotted wearing ordinary black clothes since last month.
Rela members can be hired as private security guards