Wah, wah, wah....
The conspiracy theory aficionado in me just can't ignore the lame spins masquerading as "news" reported by the rags in Malaysia. The powers that be seem to be able to provide an endless stream of "interesting" items for the newshounds to be published for the public's entertainment - contradictions, denials, "coincidences", etc. Some of it is so blatantly obvious to anyone who is willing to take a step back and read between the lines.
So much so that it's somewhat akin to watching clowns at the circus - everyone can see how stupid their antics are, except the clowns themselves.
Today was no different. While skimming the papers this morning, two pieces of news caught my eye.
First was this piece carried by theSun.
KLUANG, May 17 (Bernama) -- The Home Ministry hopes to increase the number of Rela members from 556,286 (current figure) to 2.5 million by 2012 said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
The additional members comprising all races would not only strengthen Rela but also form a human wave made of volunteers to help achieve the 1Malaysia concept.
"Since there are a number of political, religious and racial issues, there need to be a bridge like Rela, to unite the people," he told reporters after a meet the people session organised by Rela here Friday.
Read the rest here
Now when I read that, my first thought was:
Hey, there's so much cases of abuse of power, corruption, crime, etc committed by CURRENT members of RELA. Shouldn't Hishammuddin be more concerned about REFORMING RELA, rather than doing a Viagra to it and swelling it up by 5 times it's original?
And it's a HUGE number of people to recruit - 2 million new members within 3 years!! That works out to be about 55,000 new members a month or 1,800 PER DAY over 36 months!! I mean, just because something is bigger, doesn't necessarily mean it's better. Even Viagra has been known to cause DEATH! Shouldn't we be focusing on the quality of RELA?
Besides the massive logistics and costs involved in such a enormous recruitment drive, one must ask: why do we suddenly need so many RELA members in the country?
But before asking that question, we must first ask an even more fundamental question: what is RELA for anyway? According to the Information Ministry's Information Centre Website:
"RELA telah ditubuhkan sebagai sebuah jentera keselamatan kerajaan berbentuk sukarela pada 11 Januari 1972 (this was not so long after May 13, and during the time the NOC was still ruling the country. Coincidence?-EWO) di bawah Akta (Kuasa-Kuasa Perlu) Darurat 1964 (Pasukan Kawalan) Perubahan Nama dan Pindaan 1974. Penubuhan RELA adalah untuk memberi kesempatan kepada rakyat jelata yang taat-setia untuk tampil ke hadapan menganggotai sebuah agensi keselamatan kerajaan yang diwujudkan bagi membantu, memelihara dan mempertahankan keselamatan dan keamanan Negara."
So RELA is basically our country's Army Reserve unit. But as it is now, there is very little that our Armed forces is required to do - we have very few disasters (natural or otherwise) that need their facilities or manpower, and we are not a nation in conflict (within or without).
Malaysia is basically a very peaceful country. We have very little need to trouble even the active Army regulars. So why is there a need to recruit 2 million new members into the RESERVE UNIT?!
Hishammuddin's rationale sounds incredulous to say the least:
"Since there are a number of political, religious and racial issues, there need to be a bridge like Rela, to unite the people,"
Is that the way to unite a diverse people - get them to join the Army Reserve? That's the first time I heard anything to that effect. Maybe you've heard similar rationales from other countries before. Wait...there was Germany circa 1930s when Hitler united Germany through "various measures"...
Anyway, isn't uniting the people of the nation what the glorified holiday camp NS is designed for? That one not good enough already, is it?
So what now? We have a massive cost NS that does not fulfilll the idea of a National Service in any sense of the term because the trainees are not required to serve in the Army at all.
And now, we are gonna throw good money after bad by having another massive cost inflicted upon the nation (RELA members get paid allowance) to build a massive Army Reserve Corps that the nation does not need, and whose duties are not related to anything military?
Apart from the vague rationale that Hishammuddin was quoted to have given, the really chilling hint ofthe "new" RELA's purpose comes from another statement in the news report:
"strengthen Rela (and) also form a human wave made of volunteers to help achieve the 1Malaysia concept"
So the 1Malaysia concept, having failed to capture the imagination or support of the people will now be enforced by RELA? I had recently likened the Mat Rempits of this country to the RED GUARDS of UMNO. So what is RELA now going to be then, UMNO's S.A.?
What is it that the wise people said - those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it? The political situation in this country is getting just a little too surreal! I would have thought I was living in 1930's Europe! I'm wondering when everyone is gonna start speaking Deutsch and grow blond hair!!
Paranoia on my part?
That's when I read this other piece of news:
Umno to launch massive movement to strengthen machinery
(Bernama) MUAR: Umno will launch a massive movement soon to strengthen its machinery and bring back the fighting spirit among members as part of the preparation to face the coming general election.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is Umno deputy president, said the effort to strengthen the party should start now and not wait until the next election, which must be held by 2013.
"I've asked Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to start the training programmes and courses to strengthen party machinery and restore the fighting spirit among members," he said at the simultaneous opening of Pagoh Umno branch meetings here yesterday.
Read the rest here
Or is it correlation?
I had written several times before that Najib knows that he can never face another election and hope to stay in power. So the only way for him, UMNO and BN to survive is through emergency rule or something to that effect.
Are we seeing the birth of such a situation in Malaysia, now that the BN government is going on massive recruitment drives for various organisations?
You be the judge.