Fifteen individuals have been stripped of their People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) membership due to involvement in various offences, including in criminal activity, Rela director-general and Chief Commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim said.

He said of the total, three were Rela full-time administration officers and the rest were volunteers.

"Among the offences committed by these individuals were conducting operations without permission, impersonating an enforcement officer, accepting bribe and blackmailing.

"The action taken against them is proof that Rela is firm and will not compromise with members who commit any wrong-doing," he told a press conference on the state-level celebration of Rela's 42nd Anniversary, here Friday. Also present was Sarawak Rela Director Rini Tupong.

The celebration will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre here on Feb 10, and is expected to be officiated by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Mustafa also said Rela would submit the names of its members, now numbered 2.98 million, as well as potential new members, to the police in stages for screening purposes.

"A total of 5,000 names have been submitted to the police this month," he said.

Meanwhile, Mustafa called on the public to be wise in assessing and not to be hasty in making conclusions when reading about criminal cases involving Rela members as most of the case were committed when they were off duty and did not involved the Corps.

"Rela has 2.98 members nationwide and the corps is administered by 1,150 full-time staff or civil servants. When they are on duty and wearing their uniforms, they receive allowance, but off duty, they do not have any power. If they were caught committing a crime outside their working hours, it is wrong to refer to them as Rela members," he added.