Friday, November 23, 2007

Rela to manage detention depots

It is sad that the Malaysian government, despite protests from various quarters calling for the abolition of RELA, a Volunteer-Corp, is proceeding to continue to use these volunteers. Allowances are paid to these volunteers.

And now they are to manage detention centres -- and they will be "..paid allowances to work full-time in shifts...". YES, they will still be volunteers being paid allowances.

Who then can work "full-time in shiftc"? And the answer can only be the unemployed in our community.

Rather than increasing the number of full-time professionally trained public officers, with regular salaries and other labour protetions, including pension rights - the Malaysian government is probably using RELA as a means to provide 'the unemployed' in the country temporary work and some financial relief... and this is very wrong.

Friday November 23, 2007

Rela to manage detention depots

PUTRAJAYA: Rela members will be trained to take over the full-time running of the country’s 14 immigration depots by the end of this year.

The Cabinet made this decision recently to give Rela control of all these detention centres, which currently house some 11,000 illegal immigrants.

Rela is a voluntary corps under the Home Affairs Ministry and is governed by the Emergency (Stipulated Powers) Act 1964.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said it would take about two years to train his ministry staff to run these immigration centres.

“So, for the time being, Rela members will be put in charge of these centres.

“They will be trained in aspects of crowd control, how to escort illegal immigrants and maintaining records, among others,” he told reporters at his office here yesterday.

Radzi added that Rela was already in charge of running two centres; one at the KL International Airport and the other at Pasir Gudang, Johor.

“And they are doing well there,” he said, adding that each centre run by Rela would have 20 to 30 of its members managing it.

They will be paid allowances to work full-time in shifts and members will be sourced from areas in the vicinity of the detention centres.

For instance, said Radzi, Rela members living around the depot in Lenggeng (in Negri Sembilan) will be given the opportunity to work there.

He said the running of the depots before this by the staff of the Prisons Department (which comes under the purview of the Internal Security Ministry) had made it difficult for Rela members to catch, detain and deport illegal immigrants.

This, in turn, had contributed to the overcrowding at the depots, he said.

So far this year, Rela had detained 30,332 foreigners for not having travel documents and had screened 156,070 others.

Radzi said Rela members carried out 30 to 40 raids a night, adding that the Cabinet had approved RM26mil to build two more detention centres and to expand an existing one to resolve the overcrowding problem.

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