pix and video by Khairull Azry Bidin
PUTATAN: The move by Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to belittle the role played by the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) recently is nothing more than a political gimmick.
Umno vice president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said when Shafie when he was still with the Barisan Nasional component party, he had never raised the issue involving the role played by Rela.
However, now suddenly it gains attention after the former Umno vice-president joins the opposition.
He said if the opposition leader was trully interested in the safety of Sabah, he should come up with alternative suggestions or options that could be taken to strengthen security in the state's east coast.
Hishammuddin who is Defence Minister was speaking to reporters after making a visit to the Lok Kawi Camp, here, today.
Shafie faced backlash recently over his statement which belittled the role played by the volunteer corp in Sabah's east coast, saying the corp's members were only qualified to handle traffic during functions and not to be tasked to manning the security in Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).
Rela members had officially been absorbed and stationed at Esszone as second-liners to safeguard the area since early this year.
Hishammuddin clarified that the group is not involved in direct defence operations on the front line, but as a support system.
"Rela backs the police, army and the special teams assigned; they act as eyes and ears to help protect the country to ensure threats which happened in Lahad Datu do not take place again.
“For me in regards to the security threat in east coast, we are willing to ask anyone to assist but if there are other alternatives please tell us. Pointing fingers and saying this or that is easy way, he said.