More Chinese, Indians and Orang Asli aged between 18-30 have joined Rela over the last 10 years or so, according to records with the Home Ministry. This is very encouraging although their participation in the Armed Forces was put to question.
At least, they are showing strong spirit of patriotism. The youth, especially is engaging themselves more in such volunteer forces rather than 'makan gaji' by becoming a full-time policeman or soldier.
As to date, Rela has registered about 2.1 million members, setting it to be 2.5 million by year end. Out of this, about 25 per cent is non-Malays, especially Chinese and Orang Asli. In some areas, the number of Chinese is more than that of the Malays although the population ratio in such areas is 55:45 in favor of the Malays.
Rela or Volunteers of Malaysian People was formed on Jan 11, 1972 under the Special Emergency Act. Under the Government Transformation Programme’s (GTP) Crime National Key Results Area (NKRA), Rela is listed as one of the enforcement units that assists the police in combating crime.
At the early stage of its formation, Rela was joined mainly by ex-army and ex-police members and the kampung folks. The trend, however, took a more positive mode when youth at the age of 18 (at least) has shown more interest in it.
However, what happened to a government plan last year to uplift Rela's position by making it a special task force unit under the Police?