Rela denies automatic registration of volunteers, vows to launch internal probe

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Members of Rela attend its 46th anniversary celebrations in Serdang March 10, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Members of Rela attend its 46th anniversary celebrations in Serdang March 10, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — The People’s Volunteer Corp (Rela) denied today that it was automatically registering Malaysians without their knowledge or consent, after it was discovered yesterday that some were included in its database despite never having signed up.

The issue came to light after some users posted on social media to say that their details were included in Rela’s database, and shared a website for others to also check if they were similarly registered unknowingly.

“Rela wishes to emphasise that allegations regarding the use of an individual’s personal data for their automatic registration as a Rela member without their consent are not true.

“Such actions violate Section 6(1) of the Personal Data Protection Act,” it said in a statement.

The agency also noted that Section 5(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1964 was amended in 2005; it previously stated that all men between the ages of 18 and 55 were liable to serve with Rela.

The paramilitary corps under the Home Ministry pointed out that the Malaysia Volunteers Corps (Rela) Act 2012 governing it specifically stated that those wishing to join members must do so in writing.

It acknowledged the public consternation arising from the matter and pledged that an internal inquiry will be conducted to discover if there were other registration procedures that predate the Act.

Rela then pointed out that the membership of any registered individual would automatically lapse after five years of inactivity.

The volunteer corps vowed to take uncompromising action against any individuals or groups found to be intentionally using the private data of others for unauthorised purposes.

Rela is a paramilitary volunteer unit with limited policing powers. Its members typically perform in a supporting role to the police but are authorised to participate in enforcement activities such as raids and interrogations.

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