LAHAD DATU: More than 6,000 People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members are being roped in to help security personnel keep watch in 10 Sabah east coast districts.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said a pilot programme involving 500 Rela officers and members would begin soon.
“Rela members know the terrain of the areas they are from. That’s their advantage,” he said after jointly chairing the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) advisory council meeting with Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman here yesterday.
He said the Rela officers and volunteers would be given training on the legal aspects of their roles before their deployment.
“They will be the second-liners. Their role will be to help the police, military and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency monitor the situation in the 10 districts that come under the Esszone,” said Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister.
He said ensuring security in the Esszone remained a top priority, especially since the area was attracting many visitors due to its natural marine environment.
“We appreciate that the Sabah government wants to attract at least one million tourists from China ... to experience the pristine rainforests and coastal areas,” he added.
As such, he said a sea curfew in the Esszone comprising Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau would continue as long as necessary.
He said the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) would assess the preparedness of security forces in an exercise to be held in Sandakan in November.
He said the council also agreed during the meeting to increase the number of forward security posts in the Esszone.