Rela volunteers no info, 21 days after sign-ups without consent scandal, citing police probe

The People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) has refused to comment on the status of its registry list following a possible data breach that was exposed three weeks ago.

A spokesman said Rela was unable to answer a set of questions posed by Twentytwo13 as “the matter is still under police investigation”.

On June 14, many Malaysians were shocked to see their names registered as members of the uniformed body. Even Twentytwo13 editor Haresh Deol was listed as a member – without his knowledge or consent.

Several police reports were lodged over the matter.

Twentytwo13 emailed Rela a list of questions on June 28. They included:

  • Were authorisation cards issued following the registration of Malaysians who did not sign up to be Rela members?
  • Will Rela take full responsibility if its authorisation card, bearing the details of a victim, was misused?
  • What is the status of the body’s internal inquiry regarding the scandal?
  • Why should the responsibility to terminate the Rela membership be put on a person who did not even consent to be a member, as per Rela’s media statement on June 16. Why isn’t the onus on Rela?

Sources familiar with the matter had then told Twentytwo13 that there was a time when commanding officers were told to recruit as many Rela members as possible.

“This has been going on for the past 10 years, but nothing was done.

“Rela knew about this around 10 years ago. People then had already started questioning how they were listed as Rela members when they didn’t sign up,” said the source, who held a ranking position in Rela.

Following the expose, the Home Ministry instructed Rela to investigate the possibility of data breach and abuse.

Another ranking Rela officer had, on June 17, told Twentytwo13 that a Rela personnel who wanted to climb the ranks was required to recruit at least 33 members.

“It is one of the criteria set for an ordinary officer to earn ‘one star’, or to be promoted to the rank of Senior Assistant Superintendent,” said the Rela officer.

“The other criteria is for the individual to be in service for two years. One must also undergo a course before he or she is promoted.”

On June 19, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said Rela had been told to contact the victims to obtain information on the matter.

Till today, there had not been any updates pertaining to the internal investigation. The status of those who had been registered without their consent remains unclear.

Twentytwo13 checked on the status of registered members on Rela’s website but it remained under maintenance.

Among the benefits of being a Rela member are free medical treatment and insurance coverage while on duty, training, and duty allowances of RM6 per hour, and free uniforms.

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